When it comes to sports, black women have been making waves and breaking barriers for decades, inspiring generations of young athletes to pursue their dreams and achieve greatness. Although they’ve had to face various challenges and obstacles on their way to the top, their resilience, talent, and determination have propelled them to become a name to be reckoned with in the sports scene. Asides from attaining remarkable achievements in their respective fields, women of color have also used their platforms to advocate for social justice, equality, and representation in sports.
In this article, we will be highlighting five exceptional black women who are dominating the sports scene, from track and field to tennis, basketball, and more.
Their stories are a testament to the power of hard work, perseverance, and a motivation for young black women who aim to thrive in the sports scene.
Simone Biles – Gymnastics
Simone Biles is widely considered to be one of the greatest gymnasts of all time. Born in 1997 in Columbus, Ohio, Biles began gymnastics at a young age and quickly rose to prominence. She has won a total of 30 Olympic and World Championship medals, including 19 gold medals. In the 2016 Rio Olympics, Biles won four gold medals and one bronze medal. She is known for her incredible strength, flexibility, and athleticism, and has been credited with revolutionizing the sport of gymnastics with her innovative and difficult routines.
When it comes to encouraging black women to delve into sports, Biles has made a mark. In an interview with People Magazine ahead of the 2021 Olympics where she won a silver and bronze medal, she spoke about black representation in sports. “I hope they feel more confident when they step out there on the floor… they know that there are girls out there that look just like them that have done it. So if we can do it, you can do it.” She’s also a huge advocate for mental health and has made it known on several occasions.
Naomi Osaka – Tennis
Japanese-Haitian tennis player Naomi Osaka is another popular household name in sports who has shown the world. Naomi was born in Osaka, Japan in 1997 to a Haitian father Leonard Francois, and a Japanese mother. She has been ranked world No. 1 in singles by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and was the first woman to win successive major singles titles since Serena Williams in 2015, and the first to win her first two in successive majors since Jennifer Capriati in 2001. She has also won four Grand Slam singles titles and is currently ranked as the world No. 3 by the Women’s Tennis Association.
In addition to her impressive record on the court, Osaka has been vocal about her activism and has used her platform to raise awareness about social justice issues.
In the 2020 US Open, Osaka wore masks with the names of Black Americans who had been victims of police brutality and racial violence to spread the word about “Black Lives Matter”. She also withdrew from the French Open in 2021 after being fined for refusing to participate in post-match press conferences, citing concerns for her mental health. Osaka’s activism and willingness to speak out about important issues have made her a role model for black people in sports and the world at large.
Candace Parker – Basketball
Candace Parker is a true superstar in the world of Basketball. Born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1986 to a black father Larry Parker, and mother, Sara Parker. She began playing basketball at a young age going ahead to win multiple accolades including Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year twice, in 2003 and 2004 after which she was drafted into the WNBA in 2008. In 2016, Parker led the Sparks to win their first WNBA Finals title since 2002 and won the WNBA Finals MVP Award. She has won two WNBA Most Valuable Player awards and has been named to the All-WNBA First Team multiple times.
Off the court, Parker is known for her advocacy work and philanthropy. She has been a vocal supporter of Black Lives Matter and has used her platform in being able to represent on behalf of the community against police brutality and systemic racism. Parker has also been involved with numerous charitable organizations, including the Special Olympics, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and UNICEF.
Allyson Felix – Track and Field
Allyson Felix is a track and field athlete who has won a total of 11 Olympic medals, including 7 gold medals. Born in Los Angeles, California in 1985, Felix has competed in the 100m, 200m, and 400m sprints, as well as relay races. She has been named the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Athlete of the Year three times and is considered one of the greatest sprinters of all time.
Allyson has also been an advocate for gender equality in sports and has spoken out about the need for better maternal health care for women athletes. In 2018, she gave birth to her daughter via emergency C-section and later wrote an op-ed for The New York Times about her experience with pregnancy and childbirth. Her advocacy work has earned her praise both on and off the track.
Tobi Amusan – Track and Field
Tobi Amusan is a remarkable Nigerian Athlete. Who has been recently making waves in the scene showing great representation in sports as a Black Woman. She has been recently nominated for the 2023 Laureus World Sports Award in the World Breakthrough Category of the Year. Born Oluwatobiloba Amusan on April 23, 1997, in Ijebu Ode Nigeria, she started as an accomplished athlete in her early years going ahead to win a 200 meters silver medallist at the 2013 African Youth Championships and the second athlete to be named Female Track Athlete as a freshman in University of Texas.
In her first outdoor race of 2017, she ran a then-lifetime best and UTEP record of 12.63 s in the 100 m hurdles. She was the C-USA champion in her specialist event and also the runner-up in the 200 m. She’s also held the accolade of first-ever Nigerian world champion and world record holder in the 100 m hurdles gold medal in the 2022 World Championships.