The sports world is a challenging field to pursue, even at the best of times. Every one of the athletes featured on this list set a variety of goals and managed to achieve each of them during an era where society made a horrible deal when it came to gender and race. Their factors were utilised to shut them out of matches. However, despite the obstacles they had to face, they managed to prove that nothing is impossible with the sports they loved.
In 1947, Branch Rickey, the president of the Brooklyn Dodgers, invited Jackie Robinson to participate in his MLB team. At the time, Major League Baseball didn’t have any African American players since its inception in 1889. The decade-long baseball career of Jackie Robinson included one World Series Championship and six pennants for his team. He was considered the Most Valued Players of the year, the National League Rookie of the Year, and was included in the 1962 Baseball Hall of Fame.
Sports Illustrated and BBC named Mohammad Ali the Sportsman of the 20th Century. Ali was also considered one of the most famous faces during the last century and managed to make his personality as significant as his boxing skills. Mohammad Ali first started training as a boy when his bicycle was stolen, and in 1959 he was an Olympic medallist and Golden Gloves champion. After the Olympics, Ali decided to go pro and managed to stay unbeaten during the 1960s where he became the heavyweight champion of the world.
Babe Didrikson Zaharias
Babe Didrikson Zaharias managed to defy traditional femininity where she proved that women could also make extraordinary athletes. As the Greatest Woman Athlete in the World, she dominated baseball, golf, basketball, track and field, and tennis. Her real name was Mildred Ella Didrikson Zaharias and received her nickname “babe” after Babe Ruth due to her baseball abilities. She managed to win a silver medal and two gold medals at the Olympics in 1932 for her participation in track and field.
Frederick ‘Fritz” Pollard
Frederick Douglass Pollard was mostly one of the very first black trailblazers in football on a professional level and managed to established a series of firsts. Pollard was the first African American coach within the NFL and the first black person who ever played in the Rose Bowl during 1915. Pollard also managed to attend Brown University thanks to a scholarship that was given to him by the Rockefeller family. Pollard was part of the Akron Pros within the NFL and won a championship for his team in 1920.
Billie Jean King
Thanks to her crusade for in sports for women’s equality, she managed to level the playing field considerably. Her accomplishments included 6 Wimbledon championships and accepted a challenge to play against Bobby Riggs, a one-time Wimbledon championship. During 1973, she defeated Riggs in straight sets which quickly spread across the globe as the battle of the sexes.