Billie Jean King, Venus Williams and 16 other women receive Champions of Equality awards at US Open

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Venus Williams, Billie Jean King, and 16 other tennis’ foremost trailblazers were honored at the inaugural ‘Champions of Equality’ event at the US Open on Thursday night before the women’s singles semifinals. This special occasion served as a platform to pay homage to those who have paved the way and persist in their endeavors to secure equal pay for women.

Champions of Equality event
Photo courtesy of USTA/Jennifer Pottheiser

Billie Jean King, a living legend in the world of tennis, was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of her extraordinary contributions to the sport and her tireless efforts in advocating for equality. King’s groundbreaking accomplishments have left an indelible mark on the sport, with her famous victory in the 1973 ‘Battle of the Sexes’ match serving as a beacon for gender equality in sports.

The iconic Venus Williams received the inaugural US Open Billie Jean King Champion of Equality Award. This accolade acknowledges Williams’ continued dedication to promoting equality and leveling the playing field for athletes.

In addition, 16 exceptional women nominated from the USTA Sections were also recognized for their outstanding contributions at the grassroots level:

USTA Eastern: Lorraine Rohlsen-Alexander
USTA Florida: Dana Andrews
USTA Hawaii Pacific: Madeleine Dreith
USTA Intermountain: Glen Alex
USA Mid-Atlantic: Brenda Gilmore
USTA Middle States: Nancy Wilkins
USTA Midwest: Joy Albi
USTA Missouri Valley: Kim Hughes Gill
USTA New England: Judy Dixon
USTA Northern: Dr. Nicole Lavoi
USTA Northern California: Andrea Barnes
USTA Pacific Northwest: Shalini Hanstad
USTA Southern: Beth Hopkins
USTA Southern California: Doris Obih
USTA Texas: Kathleen Wu
USTA Southwest: Leslie Banks

The event featured a dynamic conversation with King and Williams, alongside Telva McGruder, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer at General Motors, and award-winning broadcast journalist Christiane Amanpour, who moderated.


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