GOOD

Billie Jean King’s Trailblazing Legacy On and Off the Tennis Court

Tennis icon Billie Jean King has won US Open championship titles across three decades.


This content is brought to you by IBM

For the past 129 years, hundreds of thousands of people gather in August and September to watch one of the most celebrated and anticipated events in tennis: the US Open. Since 1978, the US Open—known more formally as the U.S. National Championships—has been held in Flushing, NY, but over the years has seen nine different locations from Rhode Island to Pennsylvania.


Just as the location of the Championships has changed, the event itself has evolved over the years. The two week tournament began as a mens-only competition in the late 1800s before the first women’s event, singles, was added in 1887. And since then, women athletes have made their mark on the game, both on and off the court.

With her iconic eyeglasses and athletic prowess, Billie Jean King has become one of the most iconic athletes to compete at the US Open. She debuted at only 15 years old in 1959. Over the course of her 25 year career, King won U.S. Open titles during three decades, with her first for the 1964 Women’s Doubles with Karen Hantze Susman, and her last in the 1980 Women’s Doubles with Martina Navratilova.

Not only was she a champion on the US Open courts, King also championed an important cause for women athletes on tennis courts everywhere, and is widely credited for bringing women’s equality to the sport. On September 20, 1973, King went up against Bobby Riggs in The Battle of the Sexes—and won. Not only did she silence her critics, she also convinced skeptics everywhere that female athletes can stand up to nerves and pressure—and triumph.

This is the first post in a series of three exploring the women’s game evolution at the US Open, using analytics from IBM. To learn more about how IBM is using analytics at the US Open, visit here.

Articles
NHM Vienna/Hans Reschreiter

Wealth inequality has been a hot topic of discussion as of late, but it's something that's occurred all throughout history. Class structure is a complicated issue, especially when you consider that haves and have nots have been in existence for over 4,000 years.

A study published in Science took a look at over 100 late Neolithic and early Bronze Age skeletons found in a burial site in southern Germany. The study "shed light on the complexity of social status, inheritance rules, and mobility during the Bronze Age." Partly by looking at their teeth and the artifacts they were buried with, researchers were able to discover that wealth inequality existed almost 4,000 years ago. "Our results reveal that individual households lasting several generations consisted of a high-status core family and unrelated low-status individuals, a social organization accompanied by patrilocality and female exogamy, and the stability of this system over 700 years," the study said.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Climate change means our future is uncertain, but in the meantime, it's telling us a lot about our past. The Earth's glaciers are melting at an alarming rate, but as the ice dwindles, ancient artifacts are being uncovered. The Secrets of the Ice project has been surveying the glaciers on Norway's highest mountains in Oppland since 2011. They have found a slew of treasures, frozen in time and ice, making glacier archeologists, as Lars Pilø, co-director of Secrets of the Ice, put it when talking to CNN, the "unlikely beneficiaries of global warming."

Instead of digging, glacier archeologists survey the areas of melting ice, seeing which artifacts have been revealed by the thaw. "It's a very different world from regular archaeological sites," Pilø told National Geographic. "It's really rewarding work.

Keep Reading Show less

When former Pittsburgh Steelers' center Mike Webster committed suicide in 2002, his death began to raise awareness of the brain damage experienced by NFL football players. A 2017 study found that 99% of deceased NFL players had a degenerative brain disease known as CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). Only one out of 111 former football players had no sign of CTE. It turns out, some of the risks of traumatic brain injury experienced by heavily padded adults playing at a professional level also exist for kids with developing brains playing at a recreational level. The dangers might not be as intense as what the adults go through, but it can have some major life-long consequences.

A new PSA put out by the Concussion Legacy Foundation raises awareness of the dangers of tackle football on developing brains, comparing it to smoking. "Tackle football is like smoking. The younger I start, the longer I am exposed to danger. You wouldn't let me smoke. When should I start tackling?" a child's voice can be heard saying in the PSA as a mother lights up a cigarette for her young son.

Keep Reading Show less
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

On Tuesday morning, President Trump tweeted about some favorable economic numbers, claiming that annual household income is up, unemployment is low, and housing prices are high.

Now, just imagine how much better those numbers would be if the country wasn't mired in an economy-killing trade war with China, bleeding out trillion-dollar-a-year debts, and didn't suffer from chaotic leadership in the Oval Office?

At the end of tweet, came an odd sentence, "Impeach the Pres."

Keep Reading Show less
Politics

October is domestic violence awareness month and when most people think of domestic violence, they imagine mostly female victims. However, abuse of men happens as well – in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. But some are taking it upon themselves to change all that.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture