Why is Billie Jean King so significant?
On November 22nd 1943 a girl named Billie Jean King was born in Long Beach, California. Billie had her 1st tennis lesson at 12 years old and knew right away that she wanted to play the sport for the rest of her life. At 15 years old she became a professional tennis player and 2 years later she and her partner became the youngest duo to win the Wimbledon women’s doubles title. By the age of 30 Billie was the top female tennis player in the world and had won more than 30 Grand Slam titles. One thing was missing though. She wanted to be treated equally to male tennis players. Back then male tennis players were getting paid more than female tennis players and Billie felt that wasn't fair. After campaigning to get equal rights for women the U.S Open took the lead and became the first major tournament to pay male and female players equally. Aside from her fight for equal gender pay, Billie also is known for her “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match against Bobby Riggs. Bobby, a professional male tennis player, teased Billie that men are better at all sports and that he could defeat any top female tennis player. Billie needed to prove him wrong and on September 20th 1973 Billie and Bobbie competed in a televised match where millions of people around the world witnessed a woman beat a man in a tennis match fair and square. This win not only felt good for Billie but it showed others that women could be athletic and can compete on the same level as men. Billie was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame and when she was 66 years old she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for all the work she has done for women and the gay and lesbian community.
Shop the Collection:
Top 3 Takeaways:
- Billie stood up for what she thought wasn't fair.
- Billie proved that women are strong athletes.
- Billie changed the way others view women in sports.
Spark Conversation: Who is your favorite sports player and why?
Free Coloring Page Here