International Women's Day (8 March) is a global day commemorating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
Today we will pay a special tribute to six extraordinary individuals in the world of sports.
We raise a toast to the following women who have, through their sheer tenacity, hard-work, and belief in themselves, managed to trailblaze for women (and men) around the world.
Known as the "face of women's MMA" and the first female fighter to bring female mixed martial arts to a mainstream audience.
Born April 16, 1982, Gina Carano is a female mixed martial artist and arguably women's MMA's most popular fighter. She has a record of 7 wins and 1 loss.
Carano began her training with straight Muay Thai to competitive MMA, where she competed in Strikeforce and EliteXC. In 2008, she was voted "Hottest Woman In America" by Big Biz Magazine and no. 5 on the "Top Ten Influential Women of 2008" list on Yahoo!
The first Grand Slam singles champion from Asia.
Lina was born in Wuhan, Hubei on 26 February 1982. Over the course of her career, Li won seven WTA singles titles and two Grand Slam singles titles at the 2011 French Open and 2014 Australian Open.
These victories made her the first Grand Slam singles champion from Asia.
Her feats have sparked a major population growth of tennis players in East Asia, earning her the reputation as the region's tennis pioneer and trailblazer.
One of the legendary Five Elders — survivors of the destruction of the Shaolin Temple by the Qing Dynasty.
Ng Mui—the daughter of a general in the Ming imperial court— is credited as the founder of the martial arts Wǔ Méi Pài (Ng Mui style), Wing Chun, Dragon style, White Crane, and Five-Pattern Hung Kuen. She was a master of the Shaolin martial arts, the Wudang martial arts, and Yuejiaquan, the family style of Yue Fei.
The first female racecar driver to compete in a NASCAR Winston Cup stock car race, the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500.
Janet Guthrie was already a pilot and an aerospace engineer when she decided to follow her passion for racecar driving instead. Guthrie spent the next 20 years proving her skills on the track and rising up the ranks.
Despite widespread ridicule and a severe lack of sponsorships, Guthrie would eventually become one of the most celebrated drivers and winning a spot in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.
One of the most influential and popular skater of the 1960s and the first female to ever be inducted into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame.
Patti McGee, born August 23, 1945, was the 1965 Woman's first National Skateboard Champion, Santa Monica. Her first skateboard was built by her brother in wood shop from her own shoe skate as a surprise.
Her second skateboard was a BunBuster. While on the Cooley Team, and standing on a BunBuster, Patti set the world record for the fastest girl on a skateboard at 47mph during Dick Clark's World Teen Fair 1964 held at the Orange County (CA) Fair Grounds. McGee was also the first female professional skateboarder.
The greatest female table tennis players in the history of the sport.
Born October 5, 1981 in Beijing, Zhang Yining held the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) #1 ranking continuously from 2003 to 2009, remaining as a dominant figure in women's table tennis, with four Olympic gold medals, ten World Championships, and four World Cup wins.
During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, she was often referred to by commentators as "The Yellow Beast".
There are many phenomenal and fearless women out there who have accomplished remarkable feats in sports and every other field.
The women trailblazers written about here constitute only a tiny handful, but they are dear to OUR hearts, so we wanted to share them with you all.