Usually, women in the world of sport rarely get the same recognition as their male colleagues, with the rare exception of elite superstars, like Serena Williams or Danica Patrick. But times are changing, although we’re still quite far from treating women and men in sports equally. And that’s a shame because there are a lot of true professionals that have a huge impact on your favorite sport, and you don’t even know about that. We’ve put together a list of 2018’s most influential women in sports you may have never heard of.
10) Jeanie Buss
It’s not just us who named Jeanie Buss one of the most influential women in sports – Forbes has also put her on its list. Ms. Buss owns the Los Angeles Lakers. Her path to success in sports began when she turned 19 and became the General Manager of an LA tennis team. Then there was a roller hockey team she owned. Having enough skills to run a major basketball team, she was a great candidate for her current position.
9) Shannon Eastin
Being the first female NFL official has to mean something, right? She began officiating football games back at high school. And she has other achievements, as well. As a kid, Shannon has won a Judo championship. Apparently, she enjoyed officiating so much that she kept doing it in college. Eventually, her painstaking work brought results.
8) Doris Burke
The next spot on our list goes to Doris Burke, who was the first female commentator to get a full regular season role. Today, she works as a TV analyst for NBA games on ABC and ESPN. She’s loved and admired by her colleagues and players.
7) Becky Hammon
Becky is a former American and Russian basketball player and a member of the Women’s National Basketball Association and various clubs in Europe. What makes her stand out from other female players is that she might become the world’s first female head coach for an NBA team (the Detroit Pistons).
6) Danica Patrick
Danica has earned the title of “The first woman who…” twice. She’s the first woman who nailed a Nascar Sprint Cup race, winning the pole position, and the first female racer who won an IndyCar race. It’s not surprising that she’s considered the most successful female racer in the history of American auto racing.
5) Jessica Mendoza
Jessica is a brilliant game analyst for ESPN. In fact, she’s the first female MLB game analyst ever. She’s a former softball player, which later gave her the position of a softball broadcaster back in 2007.
4) Michele Roberts
Michele Roberts is an Executive Director of the NBA, and yes, she’s the first female to occupy this position. Today, she’s considered one of the most influential women in US sports, and for good reason. Running the association consisting of 300 players and managing a $3 billion budget isn’t easy.
3) Serena Williams
A tennis player who won four golden Olympic medals and all the possible tennis competitions to boot is doomed to become famous. Of course, she’s had her dose of defeats and all, but this doesn’t change the fact that Serena Williams is one of the best female tennis players in the world.
2) Marina Granovskaia
If you’re not a wild fan of the English Premier League, you’ve hardly ever heard the name Marina Granovskaia. If you’re not a wild Chelsea fan, then you can’t even imagine what she looks like. Meanwhile, for the past few years, she’s been managing one of the most powerful soccer clubs in Europe.
1) Fatma Samoura
In 2016, the position of a Secretary General of FIFA went to a woman for the first time. Fatma Samoura replaced Marcus Kattner and became arguably the most influential woman in sports.
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