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Gold medal sought for tennis star Billie Jean King

Retired professional tennis player Billie Jean King has championed gender equality and other civil rights for decades

Color image courtesy of Billie Jean King Enterprises Inc.

A congressional gold medal is being sought to recognize retired professional tennis player Billie Jean King for her remarkable life devoted to championing equal rights for all in sports and in society.

The bipartisan H.R. 1831 was introduced on March 28 by Reps. Brian K. Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., and Mikie Sherill, D-N.J.

King was instrumental in the passage of Title IX federal civil rights law. According to Wikipedia, “Title IX is the most commonly used name for the federal civil rights law in the United States that was enacted as part of the Education Amendments of 1972. It prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or any other education program that receives funding from the federal government.”

H.R. 1372 seeks to recognize King’s advocacy to break down barriers to gender equality and social justice both on and off the tennis court.

2023 is the 50th anniversary since the U.S. Open in professional tennis became the first sporting event to offer equal prize money for male and female competitors through King’s trailblazing support.

In 2009, King was the first female athlete to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, presented by President Obama.

King first encountered gender inequality in 1955 at the age of 12, while participating in a tennis tournament at the Los Angeles Tennis Club. She was barred from a group photo because she chose to wear tennis shorts instead of the traditional skirt.

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