Timeline of women's sports

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This is a timeline of women's sports.

1780 - Three days of horse racing at the track in Hempstead Plains, Long Island, included an event for women riders.[1]

1819 - Mms. Adolphe became the first woman to perform on a tightrope in the US in New York City.[1]

1825 - Madame Johnson took off in a hot air balloon in New York, landing in a New Jersey swamp.[1]

1850 - The American Amelia Jenks Bloomer began publicizing a new style of women's dress, first introduced by Fanny Kemble, a British-born actress - loose-fitting pants worn under a skirt. Other women's rights leaders like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony adopted the new style.[1]

1858 - The American Julia Holmes climbed Pike's Peak in Colorado.[1]

1864 - The Park Place Croquet Club of Brooklyn organized with 25 members. Croquet is probably the first game played by both women and men in America.[1]

1866 - Vassar College in New York fielded the first two women's amateur baseball teams.[1]

1874 - Mary Ewing Outerbridge of Staten Island introduced tennis to the United States. She purchased tennis equipment in Bermuda (and had trouble getting it through Customs) and used it to set up the first US tennis court at the Staten Island Cricket and Baseball Club that spring.[1]

1875 - The "Blondes" and "Brunettes" played their first match In Springfield, Illinois on Sept. 11. Newspapers heralded the event as the "first game of baseball ever played in public for gate money between feminine ball-tossers." [1]

1875 - Wellesley College in Massachusetts opened with a gymnasium for exercising and a lake for ice skating and the first rowing program for women.[1]

1876 - Nell Saunders defeated Rose Harland in the first United States women's boxing match, receiving a silver butter dish as her prize.[1]

1882 - At the YWCA in Boston, the first athletic games for women were held.[1]

1886 – Mary Hawley Myers set a world altitude record in a hot air balloon, soaring 4 miles above Franklin, Pennsylvania, without benefit of oxygen equipment.[1]

1887 - The American Ellen Hansell was crowned the first Women's Singles tennis champion at the US Open.[1]

1889 - The first women's six-day bicycle race ended at Madison Square Garden in New York City.[1]

1890 - The American Nellie Bly (Elizabeth Cochran Seaman) became the first woman to travel around the world alone - she did it in just 72 days while a reporter for the New York World newspaper, returning on Jan. 25.[1]

1894 - The first ladies golf tournament was held on the 7-hole Morristown, New Jersey course on Oct 17 – 1894. Miss Hollard A. Ford won with a 97 scored on the double-7, 14 strokes under her nearest rival.[1]

1895 - The American Annie Smith Peck was the first woman to reach the peak of the Matterhorn.[1]

1895 - The first Women's Amateur Golf championship was contested among 13 golfers at the Meadow Brook Club, Hempstead, New York, on Nov. 9. The match was won by Mrs. Charles S. Brown with a 132 and the runner-up is Nellie Sargent.[1]

1895 - The first organized athletics meeting was generally recognized as the "Field Day" at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York, on Nov. 9. A group of "nimble, supple and vivacious girls" engaged in running and jumping events despite bad weather.[1]

1895 - The first women's softball team was formed at Chicago's West Division High School. They did not have a coach for competitive play until 1899.[1]

1896 - The first 6-day bicycle race for women started on Jan 6 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.[1]

1896 - The first women's intercollegiate basketball championship was played between Stanford and the University of California at Berkely. Stanford won 2-1 on April 4 before a crowd of 700 women.[1]

1896: Stamata Revithi ran the 40-kilometer marathon during the 1896 Summer Olympics.

1898 - Lizzie Arlington became the first woman to sign a professional baseball contract, appearing in her first professional game pitching for the Philadelphia Reserves.[1]

1899 - Setting a new women's cycling endurance record, 125 pound Jane Yatman rode 700 miles in 81 hours, 5 minutes on Long Island. During the 3 and one half day trial, she rests less than 2 hours. Her record was beaten on Oct. 19 by Jane Lindsay who rode 900 mikes in 91 hours, 48 minutes.[1]

1900 - The Olympics first allowed women. Margaret Abbott won a gold medal in golf; she was the first American woman to take first place in an Olympic event.[2]

1901- Constance M.K, at Harvard University, introduced field hockey to the women of the United States.[3]

1911 - Helene Britton was the first woman to own a major league team. She was the head director of the St. Louis Cardinals from 1911 to 1917.[4]

1912 - Fanny Durack, from Australia, became the first female Olympic swimming champion, when she won the Women's 100 m Freestyle event, held at Stockholm, Sweden. Compatriot, Mina Wylie finished second, becoming the first female swimming silver medallist.[5]

1914 - U.S. women's basketball rules changed to allow half-court play.[6]

1918: Marie-Louise Ledru, a French athlete, has been credited as the first woman to race the now-defined marathon distance of 42.195 km.[7][8][9] On September 29, 1918, Ledru reportedly completed the Tour de Paris Marathon in a time of 5 hours and 40 minutes[10] and finished in 38th place.[11] The International Association of Athletics Federations, the international governing body for the sport of athletics, however, recognizes Violet Piercy from England as having set the first women's world best in the marathon on October 3, 1926 with a time of 3:40:22.[12]

1920 - The first American women's field hockey team, All-Philadelphia team, competed internationally. Their application to the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp was denied, but they played in an English tournament and lost both games.[3]

1922 - The U.S. Field Hockey Association, the National Governing Body for field hockey in the United States, was established.[3]

1924 - The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) held the first American national basketball tournament for women with six teams.[6]

1926 - The Amateur Athletic Union sponsored the first-ever American national women's basketball championship.[13]

1926 - New York City native Gertrude Ederle became the first woman to swim the English Channel, which she did in fourteen hours, thirty-one minutes, beating the best time to date.[14]

1926: Violet Piercy, an English long-distance runner, is recognized by the International Association of Athletics Federations as having set the first women's world best in the marathon on 3 October 1926 with a time of 3:40:22.[12] [nb 1] Piercy was reported to have run unofficially[15] and her mark was set on the Polytechnic Marathon course between Windsor and London.[16][nb 2]

1931 - Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis banned women from professional baseball in America. He felt that he needed to after a seventeen year old pitcher Virne Beatrice “Jackie” Mitchell stroked out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in an exhibition game.[4]

1932 - The American Babe Didrikson was named the Associate Press Woman Athlete of the Year for track and field after she scored enough points at the AAU national meet to win the team championship by herself. She scored thirty points as a result of winning six gold medals and breaking four world records which totaled thirty points, eight points more than the whole second place team earned.[21]

1936 - The All American Red Heads Team, a barnstorming troupe similar to the Bloomer Girls, was formed. It is generally regarded as the first women's professional basketball team in America.[13]

1936 - Ruth Hughes Aarons was the first American that won the world singles table tennis championship.[22]

1937 - Grace Hudowalski was the ninth person and first woman to climb all 46 of the Adirondack High Peaks.[23][24][25]

1943 - The All-American Girls Softball League was formed under Chicago White Sox owner Philip Wrigley. The League gradually transformed into the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.[13]

1949 - Marcenia Lyle Alberga was the first woman to play a full season in a professional men’s baseball league in America.[4]

1949 - Sara Christian became the first female NASCAR driver, racing in the inaugural NASCAR race at Charlotte Speedway, even though she had Bob Flock finish the race.[26] In the second official race at Daytona Beach and Road Course, also in 1949, Christian was joined by Ethel Mobley and Louise Smith, with Mobley finishing ahead of the 3, at 11th.[27]

1950 - Kathryn Johnson, only twelve years old, was the first girl to play Little League Baseball in America. She played for the King’s Dairy team in Corning, New York.[4]

1951 - Betty Chapman was the first African-American professional softball player.[4]

1953 – The USA women’s basketball team won the gold in the first international basketball game.[6]

1953 - Toni Stone, also known by her married name Marcenia Lyle Alberga, was the first of three women to play Negro league baseball, and thus the first woman to play as a regular on an American big-league professional baseball team.[28][29]

1954 - The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League played its last season.[13]

1955 - The first LPGA championship was held in America.[30]

1958 - Maria-Teresa de Filippis of Italy was the first woman to compete in a European Grand Prix auto race.[31]

1959 - Arlene Pieper became the first woman to officially finish a marathon in the United States when she finished the Pikes Peak Marathon.[32][33]

1965 - The first international women's softball tournament was held in Melboourne, Australia, with the home country beating the US in the final, 1-0.[34]

1966 - The first intercollegiate women's basketball tournament was played in Pennsylvania.[6]

1966 - The American Roberta Louise "Bobbi" Gibb was the first woman to run the entire Boston Marathon.[35]

1967 - The American Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon as a numbered entry.[36]

1967 - The first woman’s season champion in the World Cup of ski racing was Canada’s Nancy Greene.[34]

1970 - Mary Jo Peppler of the United States was voted the most outstanding volleyball player in the world at the International Games in Bulgaria.[37]

1971 - The five-player, full-court game and the thirty-second shot clock was introduced to women's basketball in America.[6]

1972 - The American President Richard Nixon signed Title IX of the Educational Amendment of 1972.[13]

1973 - Billie Jean King won the "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match against Bobby Riggs in America.[38]

1973 - The first American to win the gymnastics title and an Olympic gold was Marcia Frederick.[39]

1974 - The Women's Sports Foundation was created by Billie Jean King in America. It is "a charitable educational organization dedicated to increasing the participation of girls and women in sports and fitness and creating an educated public that supports gender equity in sport."

1974 - The first women's professional football league in America (WPFL) kicked off its inaugural season with seven teams.[13]

1974 - Lanny Moss was the first woman to manage a professional men’s baseball team in America. She was hired by the minor league Portland Mavericks.[4]

1975 - Junko Tabei of Japan became the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.[40]

1976 - Krystyna Choynowski-Liskiewicz of Poland was the first woman to sail around the world solo, finishing on March 28.[34]

1976 - In the first Women’s Professional Softball World Series Championship the Connecticut Falcons came out on top.[4]

1976 - Nadia Comăneci, at the time a 15-year-old Romanian gymnast, won three Olympic gold medals at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal and was the first gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of 10 in an Olympic gymnastic event.[41]

1977 - The American Janet Guthrie was the first woman to compete in the Indianapolis 500,[42] and the first woman to lead a NASCAR Winston Cup Series (now Sprint Cup Series) event.[43]

1977 - The American Shirley Muldowney was the first woman to win a NHRA championship, in the Top Fuel category.

1978 - Norwegian Grete Waitz won the New York City Marathon in 2:32:30, two minutes faster than the existing world record.[34]

1979 - At the Pan-American Games the United States Women’s National Team won the gold medal.[4]

1979 - Crystal Fields, only eleven years old, was the first girl to win a baseball Pitch, Hit, and Run competition in America. She competed against all boys in the finals.[4]

1979 - At the second Ironman Triathlon held in Honolulu Hawaii, the American Lyn Lemaire placed sixth overall and became the first Ironwoman.[44]

1980 - The first woman to run a mile under four and a half minutes was the American Mary Decker.[21]

1984 - The U.S. Women’s softball team won the championship in the first Women’s International Cup played in Los Angeles, beating China, 1-0.[4]

1984 - Joan Benoit of the U.S. won the first Olympic marathon for women.[45]

1986 - The American Ann Bancroft was the first woman to reach the North Pole by foot and dogsled, and "...she became the first known woman to cross the ice to the North Pole."[46]

1988 - The American Shawna Robinson was the first woman to win a NASCAR-sanctioned stock car race, winning in the Charlotte/Daytona Dash Series at New Asheville Speedway.[47]

1988 - Stacy Allison became the first American woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.[48]

1989 – Julie Croteau was the first woman to play NCAA baseball on first base for Division III St. Mary’s (MD) College in America.[4]

1989 - Arantxa Sanchez, 17, becomes the youngest French Open Champion and the first Spanish woman to win a Grand Slam with a 7-6, 3-6, 75 victory over Steffi Graf.[49]

1991 - The FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) began the Women’s World Cup, which was won by the US Women’s Soccer Team.[50]

1992 - Major League Baseball lifted the ban on the signing of women to contracts, a ban that had existed since 1952.[51]

1993 - Sherry Davies became the first woman public address announcer in major league baseball in America, working for the San Francisco Giants.[4]

1993 - USA Boxing officially lifted its ban on women's boxing in 1993.[52]

1995 - Ila Borders was the first woman to pitch in a men’s collegiate baseball game in America.[4]

1996 - Women’s soccer and women’s softball became medal sports at the Olympic Games for the first time; both events were won by US teams.[4]

1996 - Dot Richardson hit the first home run in Olympic softball history, helping the U.S. softball team win the gold medal.[4]

1996 - Spalding Sports introduced the first baseball glove specifically designed to fit a woman’s hand.[4]

1997 - The WNBA began in America.[53]

1999 - Carolina Morace became the first female coach of a men's professional soccer team in Italy, signing a 2-year contract in June.[54]

1999 - Swimmer Anna-Karin Kammerling of Sweden set a new world and European record in 50-meters butterfly with a time of 26.29 seconds in July.[54]

1999 - Tegla Loroupe of Kenya set the world record for the one-hour run, covering 11 miles, 696 yards to beat by 272 yards the old mark set in 1981.[54]

1999 - Tori Murden became the first woman and the first American to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean.[55]

2000 - Holland’s Inge de Bruijn set two world records in two days at the Sheffield Super Grand Prix by taking the 100-meter butterfly record in 56.69 seconds, beating American Jenny Thompson's previous mark by 1.19 seconds. She broke her own 50-meter butterfly record in 25.64 and also tied the six-year old 50-meter freestyle record in 24.51, set by China’s Le Jingyi.[56]

2000 - Sandra Farmand of Germany won the World Cup snowboard women’s cross race, beating France’s Marjorie Ray and Austria's Manuela Riegler.[56]

2005 - The American Danica Patrick was the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500.[57]

2005 - The organizers of the New York City Marathon announced they would be rewarding the female champion $130,000, that is $30,000 more than its male winner received. This may be the first time a sporting event ever paid more to a female than a male in the same competition. It is also the largest first prize for any marathon.[44]

2006 - The American Violet Palmer, forty-one, became the first woman to referee an NBA playoff game.[6]

2006 - In March 2006 Julie Wafaei of Canada became the first woman to row across the Atlantic Ocean from mainland to mainland.[58]

2008 - The American Danica Patrick was the first woman to win an IndyCar Series by winning the 2008 Indy Japan 300.[59]

2010 - Roz Savage, from England, became the first woman to row solo across the Pacific Ocean.[60]

2012: 16-year-old Dutch teen sailor Laura Dekker became the youngest person to sail solo around the world.[61]

2013 - On her fifth attempt and at age 64, the American Diana Nyad was the first person confirmed to swim from Cuba to Florida without the protection of a shark cage, swimming from Havana to Key West.[62]

2013 - Emily Bell became the first woman to kayak the length of Britain.[63]

2013 - On March 1, 2013, Privateers owner and president Nicole Kirnan served as the team’s coach for the first time, making her the first woman to coach a professional hockey team in the United States.[64][65]

2014 - Torah Bright, from Australia, became the first woman to qualify for three snowboard disciplines at a Winter Olympics, specifically snowboard cross, halfpipe and slopestyle.[66][67]

2014 - The first women competed in ski jumping at the Olympics.[68]

2014 - Abbey Holmes became the first woman to kick 100 goals in one regular season of Australian Rules football.[69][70]

2014 - Annabel Anderson, from New Zealand, became the first woman to cross Cook Strait standing on a paddleboard.[71]

2014 - The longest triathlon ever was completed in 2014 by Norma Bastidas, born in Mexico and living in Canada at the time; her triathlon was a total of 3,762 miles with 2,932 miles of biking, 735 miles of running, and 122 miles of swimming, although only 95 miles of the swimming counted because her GPS was not working for 27 miles.[72][73]

2014 - Peta Searle became the first woman appointed as a development coach in the Australian Football League when she was chosen by St Kilda as a development coach.[74]

2014 - 16-year-old Katie Ormerod, from Britain, became the first female snowboarder to land a backside double cork 1080.[75]

2014 - Shelby Osborne became the first female defensive back in American football when she was drafted by Campbellsville University in Kentucky.[76]

2014 - Amélie Mauresmo, from France, became the first woman to coach a top male tennis player (specifically, Andy Murray.) [77]

2014 - Gabrielle Augustine pitched the final two innings for Hunter's Inn, thus becoming the first woman to play in the Glenwood Baseball League, which is the longest-running amateur baseball league in the United States, founded in 1920.[78]

2014 - Tara Remington from New Zealand and Angela Madsen from California became the first female pair of rowers to cross the Pacific Ocean from California to Hawaii; this trip also made Angela Madsen the first paraplegic to row from California to Hawaii.[79]

2014 - Michele A. Roberts was elected as the new Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association, thus making her the first woman to be elected to the highest position of a major sport’s players association within the United States.[80]

2014 - During the two-week 2014 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, Natalie Nakase was an assistant coach for the Clippers, becoming the first woman to sit on the bench as an NBA assistant.[a][83][84][85]

2014 - Corinne Diacre became the first woman to coach a men's professional soccer team (Clermont Foot) in a competitive match in France on August 4, 2014, her 40th birthday.[86]

2014 - Becky Hammon was hired by the San Antonio Spurs as an assistant coach, becoming the second female assistant coach in NBA history but the first full-time assistant coach.[87] This also makes her the first full-time female assistant coach in in any of the four major professional sports in North America.[87]

2014 - Andrea Skews became the first woman to complete the Birdsville Track run from Marree, South Australia, to Birdsville, Queensland.[88]

2014 - Catherine “Cat” Conti became the first female referee in Big 12 football history.[89]

2014 - Nicola Scaife, from Australia, won the first women's hot air balloon world championship, which was held in Poland.[90]

2014 - Cecilia Brækhus, from Norway, became the first Norwegian and the first woman to hold all major world championship titles in her weight division (welterweight) in boxing.[91]

2014 - Amy Hughes, from England, ran 53 marathons in 53 days, thus setting the record for the most marathons run on consecutive days by any person, male or female.[92]

2014 - The United States won its first women's volleyball world championship title (the Volleyball Women's World Championship).[93]

2015 - Jennifer Welter became the first woman hired to coach in men's pro football when the Texas Revolution of the Champions Indoor Football league announced that Welter was hired to coach linebackers and special teams.[94]

2015 - The 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada will be the first one with 24 teams, teams from every continent.


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External links[edit]


  1. ^ The marathon world record progression of the Association of Road Running Statisticians includes Piercy, however, it notes Marie-Louise Ledru of France as the first woman.[7] According to the ARRS, Ledru ran 5:40:xx at the Tour de Paris Marathon held on 29 September 1918.[10]
  2. ^ A number of sources, including Kathrine Switzer, have reported that the venue for Piercy's mark was the actual Polytechnic Marathon;[17] however, records from the Association of Road Racing Statisticians confirm that the 1926 Polytechnic Marathon was held on 18 May.[18] The course for the Polytechnic Marathon did vary over the years[19] and there is currently very little information available to state exactly which route was run by Piercy. Although the IAAF progression notes the location for her performance as "Chiswick",[12] the Polytechnic Marathon did not end in Chiswick until 1938.[19] Prior to 1933, the Polytechnic Marathon ended at Stamford Bridge in West London.[19] An ESPN reference does note Stamford Bridge as the location where Piercy's run finished.[20]
  1. ^ Lisa Boyer was an assistant for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2001–02, but she neither sat on the bench nor traveled for away games, and she was paid by the Cleveland Rockers of the WNBA and not by the Cavaliers. Becky Hammon was hired by the San Antonio Spurs for the 2014–15 season, becoming the first woman to either be paid or work full-time as an NBA assistant.[81][82]