We are just days away from the official start of the 2016 Olympic Games! And that means it’s time to set aside any political or social discord, negative feelings about the unethical and corrupt practices of the Olympic governing bodies, as well as overlook the environmental and safety concerns overshadowing the purpose of the Games. Instead, it’s time to throw all of our support, love, and pride behind Team USA. Why? Because that’s the American way. And because these athletes have been chasing this dream their entire lives. For some, it’s a once in a lifetime experience. For others, it’s their final chance at an opportunity to be draped in a gold medal. However, regardless of the outcome, they’ve already proven to be one of the greatest athletes in the world. And dammit, as far as I’m concerned, the race has already been won!
To be frank, though, I’m not the most jingoistic American these days for all of the reasons named in the opening paragraph. However, my respect for sports, and more specifically athletes, runs deep; and I welcome the chance to support them in spite of the regrettable state of our country. If you listened to Monday’s podcast, then you know this is significant growth.
I’m here for every Team USA member, but I have extra fan love for all of my sisters competing in Rio. Aside from basketball and track & field, the journey for Black women in predominately white sports is one of isolation, strife, and struggle. Opportunities, resources, and respect, are often scarcer for women of color. To garner recognition over male and white female counterparts, women of color must work 100x harder, and unequivocally exceed the average competitor’s talent threshold. Furthermore, mainstream media has a tendency to under report or misrepresent Black women athletes, altogether. The media bias is palpable. That’s why, over the next couple of weeks, All Sports Everything will big these women up like they deserve.
The embodiment of Black women is far more vast than their performances at the Olympic Games. Black female athletes are not defined by how many medals accompany them back to the States. They are inherently so much more than that. The essence of who they are is inherited from African queens, after all. How they keep their nails fresh and hair laid while slaying the competition. How they confidently accept and celebrate their strong, muscular, and athletic bodies without shame. How they handle the naysayers with grace and dignity. And ultimately, how they honor the God in them; a God that keeps them lit from the inside out. They bring it all day, every day. And so will All Sports Everything. Throughout the duration of the Olympic Games, ASE will capture all of the black girl magic happening in Rio.
But until then, follow and get acquainted with these 20 Black girls who are destined to rock Rio!
1. Simone Biles- Gymnastics
2. Gabby Douglas- Gymnastics
Instagram: @GabbyCVDouglas | Snapchat: @GabbyDoug
A photo posted by Gabby Douglas (@gabbycvdouglas) on
3. Lia Neal – Swimming
4. Simone Manuel – Swimming
A photo posted by Simone Manuel (@swimone13) on
5. Claressa Shields- Boxer
INSTAGRAM: @ClaressaShields | SNAPCHAT: @Klaressa2016
6. Serena Williams- Tennis
INSTAGRAM: @SerenaWilliams | SNAPCHAT: @SerenaUnMatched
A video posted by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) on
7. Venus Williams – Tennis
8. Sloane Stephens – Tennis
INSTAGRAM: @SloaneStephens | SNAPCHAT: @SloaneStephens
A photo posted by Sloane Stephens (@sloanestephens) on
9. Crystal Dunn – Soccer
While I’m fully focused on working towards the goal of representing my country at the Olympics, i can’t ignore the recent events that have occurred. I love my country and i am always proud to wear this uniform especially on THIS day (Gameday). However, the recent tragedies have touched me and many, many others. These horrific events are results of deeper issues that have existed for some time now. There is no simple solution as to how we can make this country better, but we can always start by only judging the character of an individual and nothing else. We are all citizens and NO one’s life deserves to be taken from them wrongfully. No death should ever go unnoticed. My prayers go out to all the families who have lost loved ones. …” Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”…
10. Ibtihaj Muhammad – Fencing
Muslim. Black. Girl. These aren’t limitations. Combating stereotypes has always been a part of who I am. Proud to #DefyLabels with #TeamUSA. See my interview with @MINIUSA here: MINIUSA.com/ibtihaj 🇺🇸 (link in bio)
A video posted by Ibtihaj Muhammad (@ibtihajmuhammad) on
11. Nzingha Prescod – Fencing
12. Jenny Arthur – Weightlifting
A photo posted by Jenny L Arthur (@jenny.arthur) on
13. Michelle Carter – Track & Field
14. English Gardner – Track & Field
INSTAGRAM: @UghlyDucklin | SNAPCHAT: @UghlyDucklin
A video posted by English Gardner (@ughlyducklin) on
15. Allyson Felix – Track & Field
INSTAGRAM: @AF85| SNAPCHAT: @Allyson_Felix
16. Natasha Hastings – Track & Field
INSTAGRAM: @NatashaHastings | SNAPCHAT: @TashaHastings08
A photo posted by Natasha Hastings (@natashahastings) on
17. Vashti Cunningham – Track & Field
18. Tamika Catchings – Basketball
Thanking God for another opportunity to do what I love AND represent my country ONE…Last…time!!! 😘😘 @usabasketball #RoadToRio #Repost @wnba with @repostapp ・・・ @catchin24, ready to represent for @teamusa!
A video posted by Catch Me If U Can 24 (@catchin24) on
19. Brittney Griner
20. Angel MCcoughtry – Basketball
A video posted by Angel Mccoughtry (@mccoughtry) on