Year in Review: 5 of the Biggest Women in Sports Moments of 2016

As 2016 winds down, it’s important to take a look back at some of the biggest moments from an eventful year for women in sports. In addition to regular tournaments and seasons that happen every year, the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro also provided unforgettable memories in the sports world. Check out 5 of the most memorable moments that’ll make your proud to say you “play like a girl.”

1. Serena Williams tied Steffi Graf with 22 Grand Slam wins

In July, Serena Williams won the final against Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon, winning her 22nd Grand Slam title. Already one of the greatest athletes of all time, the victory meant she tied the record of tennis great Steffi Graf, which stands in the Open Era of tennis. The win wasn’t easy to come by for Williams after losing in the Australian Open and French Open finals. Keep a lookout during the 2017 tennis season, when Williams might achieve her 23rd Grand Slam win.

2. Monica Puig won the gold medal in singles tennis at the Rio Olympics

Tennis player Monica Puig shocked many when she won Puerto Rico’s first gold medal at the Rio Olympics, by defeating No. 2 Angelique Kerber in the final. To reach the final Puig had to beat several other players with higher rankings than her like Garbiñe Muguruza and Petra Kvitova. The 2017 tennis season will be important for Puig to build upon her Olympic success, which she had a challenging time doing for the remainder of the 2016 season, after the Games.

3. Team USA Gymnasts, the “Final Five”, dominate in Rio Olympics

Gymnasts Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, Laurie Hernandez and Madison Kocian won the team gold, in addition to Biles and Raisman winning individual medals. Named for Marta Karolyi’s final Olympic Games as national team coordinator, the squad excelled in their events and continued Team USA’s dominance in women’s gymnastics at the Olympics. Raisman and Douglas were team veterans, having medaled at the 2012 London Olympics as well.

4. University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team wins their 4th consecutive NCAA title

As CBS Sports notes, “UConn simply put together the most dominant season in college basketball history, led by the most decorated player in the history of the sport in Breanna Stewart.” Finishing the season undefeated in April, Coach Auriemma’s team was unstoppable and added a significant record to an already excellent basketball program. With UConn players like Stewart now in the WNBA, it’ll be interesting to see how a new class of Huskies will make an impact in the league; current stars like Diana Taurasi and Maya Moore come from the same alma mater. It’ll be interesting to see how the college team rebuilds after the Stewart era.

5. Ronday Rousey returns to fight after devastating loss to Holly Holm in 2015

Making her much-anticipated return to UFC 207, Rousey has been fairly quiet before the fight in comparison to previous matches, and sports fans are eager to see what will happen against her opponent Amanda Nunes. The fight is scheduled for tomorrow December 30, and it could prove to be one of the most important fights for both Rousey and Nunes.

Women in sports are still fighting for equal pay, appropriate media coverage and increased respect, but there is one thing that is certain, and that’s that women have the ability to excel at sports. That will no doubt continue in 2017.

Image by Mariela S.M. via Canva

by Mariela S.M.

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