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Sex sells women’s sports

(Published February 11, 2002)

By BRIAN BRADFORD

Staff Writer

WNBA star Chamique Holdsclaw says sex appeal overshadows the accomplishments of female athletes in today’s culture.

Holdsclaw, Olympian Meredith Rainey Valmon and in-line skater Monica Phillips met with about 300 girls at Eastern Senior High School in early February to discuss issues related to and challenges facing women and girls in sports today.

All of the panelists said sex appeal has too much influence on women’s sports.

"People see Venus and Serena (Williams) and it’s obvious that sex sells," Holdsclaw said.

The three athletes were beginning a series of events that celebrated the 16th Annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day.

Phillips, who lives in Pasadena, Md., told the students about the obstacles of being a "double minority" as an African-American woman. Not many African-Americans compete in in-line skating events, she noted. Phillips said she struggled to get sponsorship from companies while her father financially supported her career.

Valmon left her business card with members of the track team and promised to keep in touch and e-mail them coaching tips. Valmon is one of four daughters raised by a single mother in Brooklyn, NY. She made the U.S. Olympic team twice – in 1992 and 1996 – and is now part of a Washington-Baltimore committee that is trying to bring the 2012 Summer Olympics to the region.

Holdsclaw also has represented the United States in the Olympics, winning a gold medal in 2000. The Washington Mystics forward won Rookie of the Year honors in her first WNBA season and has been named to the WNBA all-star team three times.

National Girls and Women in Sports Day was established by a congressional resolution in 1986 to celebrate the achievements of girls and women in sports. The special day is celebrated in all 50 states and the District of Columbia with community-based events, award ceremonies and other activities honoring the achievements of girls and women in sports.

Copyright 2002, The Common Denominator