Friday, October 17, 2008

WSF awards

Earlier this week the Women's Sports Foundation held their annual awards dinner in NYC. Nastia Liukin won the 2008 Sportswoman of the Year Award (individual) and Jessica Mendoza won it for a female athlete competing in a team sport. Of course, gymnastics could be considered a team sport as well though there is the individual component of it unlike in softball and other team sports.
I was kind of bummed at the choice of recipients. I do like Mendoza and believe she is a good athlete and a good person very much involved in using sport to make change within and outside of sport, but she gets a lot of publicity already. Liukin doesn't really do anything for me and she doesn't appear to have done much outside of gymnastics. The thing most of the articles about the award if touting is Liukin's upcoming guest appearance on Gossip Girl.
I myself voted for Ashley Fiolek, the teenager who races motocross (a very male dominated field). And Patty Cisneros for Team Sportswoman of the year. Cisneros has been a major force on the US wheelchair basketball team for almost ten years.
Also given out was the Billie Jean King Contribution Award which went to the WTA Tour earned for achieving equitable prize money at all the Grand Slams. (This one I found curious because in all the coverage I read of the move to equal prize money I never really heard that the WTA played a huge role in the decision-making process.) And the Wilma Rudolph Courage Award was given to Texas Tech pitcher and All-American Patience Knight, who overcame cancer.


Diane said...

I think the Liukin choice has to be based, not only on her accomplishments, but on the fact that she was told : 1. she was washed out, 2. too old, 3. could never recover from her injuries, 4. should retire gracefully.

Well, she showed everybody. It was quite an impressive comeback, especially with all the negativity around her.

ken said...

I do see the value in rewarding an athlete in a sport that has very narrow views on who can be successful who has "overcome" those things. But part of me (a large part) thinks that people voted for her because she's the current "it" girl in sports and she's pretty and an immigrant story everyone can get behind.

Diane said...

Perhaps so, and those votes--if they were cast--upset me just as much. But even that doesn't take away from Liukin's accomplishments, or from her determination in the face of rampant criticism and negativity.