The past 10 years have been a critical era in the campaign to find equity for women’s sports in a world dominated by men.
This past week, the world–renowned sports training institution, Bradenton-based IMG Academy, has launched a Women in Sports Committee. The committee will help develop programs and initiatives, as well as grant scholarships to female athletes at the facility.
“We are humbled and honored to welcome these incredible women to our Women in Sports Committee,” IMG Academy President Brent Richard said in a company statement. “They have worked tirelessly to not only blaze their own paths, but to also lay the groundwork for those who follow…We look forward to working together to bring sport, and the important life and leadership skills it generates, into the lives of more young women.”
Iconic female sports and media personalities highlight committee
IMG Academy’s Women in Sports Committee is made up of six women who are well-known in the sports and media world:
- Sports anchor and talk-show host Cari Champion
- Former XFL Chairwoman, entrepreneur, and actress Dany Garcia
- American tennis player and gold-medal winner Lindsay Davenport
- Legendary Olympic skier and gold medalist Lindsey Vonn
- NFL, NBA, and Olympics reporter Michele Tafoya
- Good Morning America co-anchor and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Robin Roberts.
Vonn founded the Lindsay Vonn Foundation, which “empowers young girls to reach their academic and athletic goals,” IMG Academy noted. The foundation does this through scholarships and programs for education, sports, and enrichment.
Investment in female athletes can provide CEO-level returns
In his statement about the committee’s launch, Richard noted that he’d like to focus on creating change in women’s athletics. He also emphasized that making changes to athletics, in general, can have an incredible impact on the professional world.
“Findings have shown that 94% of C-suite female executives played a sport, and 52% played at the collegiate level or higher,” Richard said.
IMG boasts an impressive list of female superstars
What’s significant about IMG’s commitment to female athletes is that it’s arguably the premier sports training facility in the world for women. For example, among the academy’s athletes are:
- Serena Williams, 23-time Grand Slam winner and the most dominant female tennis player in history.
- 10-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams
- 10-time LPGA Tour winner Paula Creamer
- Five-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova
Despite these famous names, there’s a big gap between the number of males and females listed on the Academy’s site. Of the 22 athletes listed on IMG’s Pro & College Training page, 15 are male.
However, the Academy is making strides to improve its influence on female athletes. In addition to the formation of the Women in Sports Committee, it hosted the 2020 WNBA season.
“Our work will not stop tomorrow or the next day, as we actively strive to be a part of sustained, long-term change,” IMG’s website notes. “As a member of our community, we ask that you join us in this ongoing commitment.”