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Tuesday, June 25, 2002
Updated: July 1, 1:08 PM ET
Greatest U.S. women's sport moments

From the Page 2 mailbag

Earlier this week, Page 2 listed our top 10 greatest moments in women's sports history, and we asked you to send us your choices.

We hunted through more than 230 e-mails, and here is how Page 2 readers ranked the achievements. Be sure to vote in the poll at right to crown the greatest moment in U.S. women's sports history .

1. U.S. soccer team wins World Cup, 1999 (53 letters)
Brandi Chastain
Brandi Chastain strikes her famous pose after her 1999 World Cup heroics.
Simply the greatest moment in women's sports history. The entire tournament was played before sellout crowds and was watched by millions all over the world. Plus, more than 90,000 people packed the Rose Bowl for the final game. We're talking women's soccer!

This is incredible because it's not only a soccer game, which hardly registers a blip on the U.S. sports radar, but it was also a women's sporting event. With seemingly two strikes against it, the U.S. team wowed the entire world and validated Title IX 27 years later.
C. M. Connors
Denton, Texas

Hands down, the '99 World Cup title. I don't think any women's sporting event was ever watched with as much respect as that was. I know many males -- myself included -- who have scoffed at female athletics, but that team was amazing in every sense of the word.

The U.S. team beat the world in a sport the United States has never dominated and for this, they attained celebrity status the likes of which few female athletes ever have. The Brandi Chastain commercials with Kevin Garnett. Now Mia Hamm is sponsored by Gatorade and Nike, and she appeared in commercials with Vince Carter, Peyton Manning, Derek Jeter and Michael Jordan for goodness sakes! That game had quite an impact.
J. Lash
Fort Lee, N.J.

When the U.S. women's soccer team won the World Cup, it was the first time that I can remember being completely glued to my TV set and cheering out loud for a women's sporting event. In my household, it became one of those "put dinner on hold, let the kids run amok, and don't answer the phone until the game is over" type days that we usually only have during World Series week.

It gets my vote for the best because it seems that the moments we tab as "the best," are the ones we can replay in our minds over and over again. Who can forget the the penalty kicks and of course, Brandi Chastain's emotional celebration?! Fortunately, this was a spectacular and televised. It's only too bad that we didn't get to witness Babe Didrikson's remarkable feats in the same manner.
Jan Getz
Hagerstown, Md.

2. Nixon signs Title IX, 1972 (33 letters)
The Title IX legislation completely changed the face of women's athletics forever, by opening a door of opportunity that was previously closed shut to girls and women. That legislation allowed for the record numbers of participation in sports, societal acceptance of women as athletes, opportunities for greater prize money in women's pro sports, etc, etc. It is by far the most significant thing ever to happen in women's sports!
Carol
Middletown, Conn.

As an ex-college wrestler I could look back at title IX as reverse discrimination, but I tend to see it as it is, an opportunity for millions of women to compete and have the same opportunities as men. There is a large amount of controversy surrounding this law in wrestling circles across the nation, but the good it has done for women far outweighs the amount of wrestling programs and other male sports programs that have been dropped. Women have been oppressed for centuries, the price that some male sports have to pay today is a mere pittance to what women have sacrificed through the years.
Mark Peterson
Eyota, Minn.

Nixon has been a political pariah for so many years, that it's only fair he is credited for the good work he did do while in office, including his signing of Title IX. It was not a politically popular move to many of his staunch Republican supporters. Nixon recognized something needed to be done, and while Title IX is an imperfect solution to the problem of gender inequity in athletics, it did more to advance women's sports in the U.S. than any other single event in history. Naming any man, let alone Richard Nixon, as the person responsible for the greatest moment in women's sports history is a bold and controversial move by Page 2 -- and the same could be said of President Nixon's decision to sign Title IX into law.
Brian
Orange, Calif.

Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King defended all women in her historic "Battle of the Sexes" match against Bobby Riggs.
3. Billie Jean King wins the Battle of the Sexes, 1973 (25 letters)
Not only did it impact the sports world, it affected society as a whole. Women's rights in the workplace, the well intentioned, but ill fated ERA amendment, and countless other women's movements that sprang into life in the mid 1970s. Title IX may not have passed had the King-Riggs outcome been different. Her victory transcended mere tennis, and changed the world as we know it.
Michael Elseroad
Virginia Beach, Va.

Billie Jean King beating the tar out of big mouthed Bobby Riggs at the Astrodome. It signaled the advent of women into the world of professional sports on TV.
Robert E. Polner
Bethesda, Md.

4. Kerri Strug vaults to victory, 1996 (23 letters)
Strug was the final competitor and was seriously injured. The vault was a do-or-die, once in a lifetime moment to defeat the Russian team, which was undefeated in the history of Olympic team competition. It was one of the most dramatic, pressure-packed three seconds in sports history.
Eric James
Detroit

The most memorable moment by a U.S. female happened at the Atlanta Games. A gymnast stuck the landing on a broken ankle! Truly inspiring in an age where NBA players will miss three games due to "Nintendo thumb."
C.W.
Townsend, Mass.

5. UConn women's hoopsters go 35-0, 1995 (21 letters)
Undoubtedly, the 1995 NCAA women's basketball championship between UConn and Tennessee. This was the first time that the game actually received the attention it deserved, as up-and-coming UConn played historic powerhouse, Tennessee. The game itself was exciting (more exciting than many men's games that year), and it wasn't until Jenn Rizzotti's runner late in the game that UConn tabbed the lead for good. A classic that truly put women's basketball on the map for the first time, and laid the groundwork for the sport to grow dramatically over the past seven years.
Steve Hellman
San Francisco

Women play College basketball in Connecticut. Yep. They also charm David Letterman, front the cover of Sports Illustrated, captivate the nation, and lay the foundation of the next great women's sports dynasty.
Neil Davis
Austin, Texas

The Huskies were the underdog in '95 (the '98 Lady Vols and '02 Huskies weren't much of a surprise). The team brought a lot of attention to the game, increasing interest in '96 Olympic women's basketball, and eventually giving rise to the inception of the ABL and WNBA.
Ed
Glastonbury, Conn.

6. Williams sisters dominate U.S. Open, 2001 (18 letters)
Think about the familial talent, and the historically significant implications behind two sisters (Serena and Venus Williams) advancing to the finals of the U.S. Open (the most prestigious tennis event on U.S. soil). Then consider two female African-Americans nonetheless. One has to see this as the greatest moment in U.S. women's sports history. In the field of sports like tennis, where minorities have historically been excluded and discouraged from participation, for two black women (and let's not forget, SISTERS) to make it all the way to Arthur Ashe's Center Stadium to compete for the title is mind-boggling. Imagine the symbolism! This was like Tiger Woods at Augusta, Hank Aaron blasting #715 in the deep south of Georgia, or Jesse Owens dominating the Germans at the Olympics. Let's try to be objective and ask ourselves, "If these women were white, would they (and their parents/coaches/managers) be receiving more credit?" I watched the 2001 Final match on TV from start to finish as camera bulbs flashed, and, even as I reflect on that night now, I still get goose bumps thinking about it. Quite and accomplishment.
Tarik D. Walker
Baltimore

Babe Didrikson
Babe Didrikson won two gold medals at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles.
7. Babe Didrikson rules AAU, 1932 (17 letters)
All of these are great moments, but I have always been impressed with Mildred "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias. Along with her track accomplishments and her 10 Golf majors (and 31 championships), she was an All-American basketball player, and a superior diver, roller skater, boxer, bowler, and tennis player. She was also a great baseball player -- her world record throw was 296 feet -- and she earned the nickname "Babe" by hitting 5 home runs in a game. She is truly among the greatest multisport athletes of all time.
Paul Carter
New Hope, Minn.

8. U.S. softball team takes gold in Atlanta, 1996 (16 letters)
Reason, it's not a "man's" sport. It exists on its own. In all other sports, men can be appreciative of the sport but think that if women's talents were TRULY equal they would play coed. Not so in softball, which is considered a women's sport. It's fast, it's athletic, but it's not as physical as soccer or basketball. Re: women's tennis has been around forever, Bobby Riggs threw that ridiculous match ... heck, when Chris Everett was the top player, her brother beat her all the time. No -- the sport is definitely softball, and the greatest moment was the '96 Olympic win.
Tom Power
Seal Beach, Calif.

9. U.S. hockey team wins Gold, 1998 (12 letters)
Not only did the 1998 U.S. women's hockey team dominate an Olympic year where the men's teams were supposed to shine, it beat a team, Canada, that had consistently dominated international play for the seven years leading to the Games. Finally, the Americans broke through on the game's most important stage.
T.J. Basalla
Strongsville, Ohio

U.S. women's hockey team takes the Gold in Nagano ... hands down. Most people didn't follow women's hockey before Nagano (or during, for that matter). Those of us that did, viewed Canada as something akin to the Soviet dynasty that ruled the men's game for so long. Frankly, we would have been happy with the silver. Silver just wasn't enough for that team though, and they shook up the world, stunning Canada in both Olympic matches.
Charles Stark
Cromwell, Conn.

10. Wilma Rudolph races toward three gold medals, 1960 (11 letters)
My pick goes to Wilma Rudolph. Not only because of the way she overcome personal strife, but because of how she also stood up to challenge segregation. Against all that she faced, she proved we CAN overcome things that seem far bigger than ourselves if we have the courage and determination.
Daryl
Bowie, Md.