Female athletes who have broken barriers in typical male sports


What is common in today’s sport was unthinkable a few decades ago. Not so long ago, many of the most popular sports activities for women were totally taboo. Today, the situation is different, and women can easily take their place in typical male sports.

Women’s non-participation at the top level in a number of sports sectors lasted only until female athletes appeared in front of the audience determined to change the ‘rules of the game’. They must have faced a double challenge. In addition to surmounting their own limits and rivals on the playgrounds or in the arenas, they also fought against the then social conventions. 

Women and Sports in History: 

  •  In ancient times, sport was a male domain, women practiced only marginally. 
  • In the Middle Ages, sports activities were totally unacceptable to women. 
  • greater attempts to break down barriers came in the 19th century, but failed 
  • the first Olympic Games in 1896 were not held by an athlete 
  • the first 19 women fought for medals up to 4 years later at the OH in Paris 
  • the International Federation of Women Sport was founded in 1921. 
  • the first Women ’ s World Games were held in Paris in 1922
  • in the second half of the 20th century, the first women appeared in typical male sports.

Jackie Tonawanda (USA)

“Female Ali,” as Jackie Tonawanda was nicknamed, had to fight to win the chance to compete against almost all of them. Her desire to enter the professional ring ended only in court, where she achieved a change in the rules allowing women to compete. To make matters worse, in 1975, she went up against boxer L. in Madison Square Garden. The Rodanians. After beating the shit out of him in the second round, it was clear that women deserved a fighting chance.

Manon Rhéaume (Canada)

Women currently have their own NHL, so it is not necessary to chase a puck on one slide with men. However, Manon Rhéaume did try this feeling in 1992. Even though it was an exhibition match and it only captured one third of the game, she became the first and only female goalie ever to join the NHL. She’s even been given this chance twice.

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Danica Patrick (USA)

Despite the fact that Danica Patrick has broken barriers in motorsport too, many women do not appear in motorsport as yet. This, too, contributes to the fact that, after 13 years, the American racer is still the only female winner in the prestigious IndyCar series. In addition to the success of the series, she managed to get into NASCAR Cup or to win senior positions in other competitions where she faced male competition.

Kelly Kulick (USA)

In the bowling world, the Tournament of Champions, which is part of the PBA Tour series, is the ultimate competition. By 2010, he had failed to win any women. Besides, the women couldn’t even attend it before. Kelly Kulick is thus, historically, the first female bowling player to enter a male competition and to win one. 


Carissa Moore (USA) 

Surfing has never been a typical male sport, yet many competitions were initially organized with male representation only. Such events included the Triple Crown of Surfing competition. In 2011, however, Carissa Moore, who had several notable achievements at the time, including winning the World Championship in surfing, was introduced as the first woman, thanks to a wild card.

Gertrude Ederle (USA) 

Barriers standing in the way of gender equality in water sports began to crumble long before C. Moore. It happened in 1926, when Gertrude Ederle sailed the whole area of La Manche. Despite the bad weather, she did it in 14 hours and 32 minutes, breaking the male record of the time in about two hours.

Billie Jean King (USA)

Twelve grand slam doubles and a long-standing position with the World Team made Billie Jean King one of the world’s most successful tennis players. However, contrary to the above, the female athlete did not go down in history as a woman who broke the barriers in typical male sports. Women’s tennis was a common competition issue during her active career. She was more famous for winning against ex-tennis player B. Riggs, who she defeated in 1973 in the so-called ‘Sex Battle’. 

There is no longer any top sport where women cannot compete. Nevertheless, in some cases, they do not enjoy exactly the same conditions as men. The problem is mainly the lower financial remuneration, the weaker media attention or the weaker interest of sponsors, which is why women’s sport is developing much more slowly.

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