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Tennis legend Billie Jean King may quickly change into the primary feminine particular person athlete to be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.
In line with ESPN, three U.S. senators are set to introduce a invoice on Wednesday that can award the honour to King. Wednesday marks the fiftieth anniversary of her victory over Bobby Riggs within the “Battle of the Sexes,” which stays the most-watched tennis match of all time.
“She’s each a task mannequin for girls and ladies all over the place, however she’s additionally a battle-tested warrior for girls’s rights and equality,” stated Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, one of many proponents of the invoice within the Senate together with Sens. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona
A tennis Corridor of Famer and longtime activist, King was instrumental within the creation of a girls’s professional tour and making certain equal prize cash for each women and men. She celebrated the fiftieth anniversaries earlier this 12 months of the WTA Tour and the US Open turning into the primary event to award equal prize cash to its males’s and girls’s champions.
King additionally commemorated her 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Riggs on the Astrodome in Houston on social media on Tuesday. The match was seen by an estimated 90 million folks following the then-55-year-old Riggs’ declaration that he may beat any girls’s participant. King was motivated to make sure that would not occur.
Billie Jean King @BillieJeanKing
Tomorrow marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of the Sexes.
This match was about far more than tennis.
If King receives the Congressional Gold Medal, she’s going to be a part of athletes akin to baseball gamers Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente and golfers Jack Nicklaus, Byron Nelson and Arnold Palmer to obtain the honour.
“I believe it is vital for girls and ladies to know that the taking part in area has not been stage for a really very long time, however that there are champions and advocates who’ve been combating on their behalf for generations to get that taking part in area leveled,” Gillibrand stated.
The invoice wants two-thirds of the voting to move within the Senate, and the identical majority within the Home of Representatives, the place a companion invoice is being led by Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey. Gillibrand stated she hopes the invoice could be handed earlier than the top of the 12 months.
“We nonetheless have by no means had a girl president. Now we have only a few girls governors. We nonetheless solely have 20% of girls in Congress,” she stated. “So now we have a protracted approach to go, however champions like Billie Jean give us hope that by means of combating, by means of effort, by means of advocacy, we are able to attain these milestones of equality.”