LOUISVILLE, Ky. – For the first time in Louisville – and one of only a few times in the nation – an entire week of events celebrating women’s activities will take place at locations throughout the city.
Dubbed the “Women In Sports Week”, the Louisville Women’s Sports Network (LWSN), in partnership with University of Louisville Athletics, will host events the week of Sept. 19-23 that engage the community in the recognition and importance of women’s athletics.
“I think it’s past time for young women athletes to start getting the recognition and the place that they deserve in the sports world,” LWSN Executive Editor Billy Reed said. “I think this week is going a long way towards doing that. And I hope it’s picked up by a lot of other states.”
The week will be formally introduced at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium on Sept. 17 during the showdown between the Cards and Florida State.
On Monday, Sept. 19, an invitation-only breakfast symposium will be held at the University Club and Alumni Center on campus at U of L. Moderated by WAVE 3’s Connie Leonard, a panel of esteemed sports professionals will discuss topics ranging from the media coverage of women’s sports to coaching today’s female athlete to climbing the ladder of athletics administration.
The 2nd annual Women In Sports Honors (WISH) banquet will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 20. Open to the public and held at the Crowne Plaza Airport, last year’s WISH event attracted nearly 500 athletes, coaches, administrators, and community leaders to celebrate women’s athletics in our city.
This year’s WISH is poised to be sold out with USA Triathlon Hall of Famer Susan Bradley-Cox as the featured speaker. Awards will be presented in a variety of categories to 2016 Olympian Kelsi Worrell, Joyce Seymour and Ron Kordes. Details and ticket information can be found here.
Steve Fehder, President of The Sports Media Team, parent company of the Louisville Women’s Sports Network, added his enthusiasm.
“After witnessing the incredible success of our inaugural WISH event last year, I knew that we needed to do something even bigger, on a grander scale, to put our female athletes front-and-center of the media and the public for more than two hours. The response to Women In Sports Week has been overwhelming and we are excited for our female athletes, of all ages.”
The LWSN’s Student Athlete Mentoring Program (STAMP) will be in full swing on Sept. 21 and 22. STAMP connects female college athletes with local private and public middle schools by going into the classrooms and mentoring students on topics including self-esteem, the importance of sport/physical activity, peer pressure and respect for teachers and classmates. STAMP mentors will make six to eight school visits around the city during the week.
The week will cap off with an athletics-based field trip for local middle school girls to the KFC Yum! Center on Friday, Sept. 23. Girls will get a chance to participate in interactive stations led by collegiate female student-athletes and coaches. They’ll receive instruction around the fundamentals of sport, exercise science, nutrition, physical activity, “how to” play a particular sport and more.
“Medals and trophies aside, the one thing that we absolutely know is that participation in sports teaches young women about teamwork,” Reed said. “It builds their self-confidence. It builds their self-esteem. I don’t think you measure the success of this in trophies and medals. The success of it is measured by what these young women gain by their participation and exposure, and I cannot begin to guess how many hundreds of thousands of young women whose lives have been improved considerably because they’ve had the opportunity to participate in sports.”
Forty percent of all athletic participants are female, yet only four percent of sports media coverage is dedicated to women’s athletics. The LWSN continues its mission through WISH, the Women In Sports Week, and promoting a #40and4 awareness campaign in an effort to cover and celebrate our city’s most talented and deserving female athletes.
Produced by the Louisville Women’s Sports Network, WISH and the Women In Sports Week are presented by KentuckyOne Health Sports Medicine and Kroger. It is supported in part by Bill Collins Ford, WAVE 3 News, and Alpha Media. More information can be found on LouisvilleWomenSports.com (click on the “WISH” logo).