GLADIATHERS®: A YEAR IN REVIEW
2016 has come and gone rather rapidly. We’ve had some ups and downs, some excitement and some calm, some unexpected and some monotonous. And we’re thankful to have been around for it all. So, in the last couple of days of the year, we’re taking a few minutes to reflect on some of what GladiatHers® brought the world in 2016. Enjoy and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
January introduced us to one of the hot topics for 2016, sexual assaults on college campuses by student-athletes. That month Florida State University reached a settlement agreement with Erica Kinsman for the University’s handling of her claim of sexual assault by James Winston. The year would be plagued by numerous and saddening revelations about Title IX, sexual assault and abuse on college campuses and student-athletes, including trouble at Tennessee and Baylor. Hopefully 2017 brings vast improvements in the protection women receive from sexual violence on college campuses.
In February, the Zika virus threatened the safety of female athletes who hoped to participate in the Olympics in Rio. But while Zika and microcephaly seemed to slow international travel and struck fear in many throughout the world, women showed up and represented in record numbers and ways in August.
In March/April, the University of Connecticut’s Women’s Basketball team made history by clinching its fourth consecutive National Championship with its 82-51 victory over Syracuse. The 38-0 Huskies made it through the tournament unscathed despite the many uncharacteristic upsets during the tournament.
April brought us a lawsuit courtesy of the US Women’s National Team against the United States Soccer Federation for violations of the Equal Pay Act. After earning about $20 million more than the men’s team but receiving four times less in compensation, the women had enough and took their case to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
In May, the Scrap Yard Dawgs made history when they signed a contract with the best softball player in the world, Monica Abbott, to a whopping million dollar deal. This made Abbott the recipient of one of (if not the) largest contracts ever signed between a US franchise and a female professional athlete.
June brought the celebration of 20 years of the WNBA, but also the sadness of the loss of legendary GladiatHer® Pat Summitt. After courageously battling Alzheimer’s disease, Summitt left us; but not before leaving her glorious mark on women and men alike.
With a great deal of the country enthralled with political protests over the treatment of African Americans by law enforcement, women’s sports and the athletes who play them were not exempt. When women of the WNBA took part in the protests, however, the League levied fines against the women. While the fines were fairly quickly withdrawn, the incident brought attention to the double standards for women in sports and the importance of female athletes using their voices for causes outside of sports.
For just about the entire month of August, women in sports had the world in the palm of their hands. They completely wowed us with their athletic displays at the Olympics in Rio. Although Rio was plagued by much controversy building up to the Games, the women shown brightly and silenced all of the doubt.
In September, women again used their voices to take part in political protests. They showed, collectively and as individuals, the power of using their platforms in spaces outside of sports as tools for change.
In December, we talked to some pretty amazing women like basketball star Skylar Diggins, Amaiya Zafar and Dr. Kimberly Clay. Each one of them imparts vast amounts of inspiration for women and girls in their daily lives.
Yes, 2016 was an absolutely amazing year for GladiatHers.com and we’re so grateful to the women and our readers who made it possible. We hope you all enjoyed and flourished in 2016 and we hope that 2017 brings success, growth and peace for each of you. But before we sign off for the year, we absolutely MUST give a shoutout to one of our favorite GladiatHers®, Serena Williams…Congratulations on your engagement!!