Speed skater Bonnie Blair exemplifies success under pressure - the measure of a true champion. There are numerous winners in the world of sports, but the celebrated athletes are the few who meet the challenge of pressure time after time - such as speed skater Bonnie Blair.
For nearly 20 years, tennis great Chris Evert provided fans throughout the world with one guarantee - she gave every match all she had. She was always more than just the best tennis player in the world. Evert was ranked number one for seven years and had a 90 percent win average spanning her 17 year career as a pro. She won 18 grand slam titles including three Wimbledons, seven French Opens, two Australian Opens and six U.S. Opens.
In 1979, Diana Nyad plunged into the history books by completing the longest swim ever. The distance was 102.5 miles from the coast of Bimini to the Florida shore. This incredible record, longest swim by a man or a woman would stand for eighteen years.
Every four years the Olympic Games produce a new group of champions, but only rarely does one of these champions transcend their sport to completely capture our imaginations. Such was the case when nineteen year old figure skater Dorothy Hamill won her Gold Medal at the 1976 Winter Games in Innsbruck, Austria.
Very few athletes have the opportunity to reinvent their sport. Jackie Joyner-Kersee is one such athlete. She has amassed 20 records in the heptathlon and has won three Olympic gold medals. Off the track, she is a business executive who runs her own sports-marketing firm and heads the JJK Community Foundation, an organization that sponsors programs for disadvantaged youth.
Unusually slender for a swimmer at 5-foot-5 and only 102 pounds, Evans dominated the 1987 U. S. championships by winning four events, the 400-, 800-, and 1,500-meter freestyle and the 400-meter individual medley. She was the first woman to break the 16-minute barrier for 1,500 meters.
During her career, she has won three Grand Slam singles titles (2 Australian Open, 1 French Open), as well as the women's singles Gold Medal at the 1992 Olympic Games.
"Always dream," says Olympic champion figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi. Yamaguchi always dreamed of becoming an Olympic champion and her dedication to that dream paid off. Through her hard work and determination, Kristi won the gold medal at the 1992 Winter Olympics.
Lesley Visser, a pioneer among women sports journalists, returned to CBS Sports in August 2000 as a contributor to THE NFL TODAY, college basketball, the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, as well as special projects with CBS Sports and CBS News.
Lisa Fernandez is one of the most accomplished softball players in history. A member of the 1996 and 2000 Gold Medal Olympic team, Lisa is also a three-time MVP and All-American at the USA National Softball Championships and was also named Outstanding Pitcher in 1997 and 1998. She won the Women's Sports Foundation Athlete of the Year award in 1994 and was a nominee two other times.
If there was a record in tennis, chances are Martina Navratilova broke it. By the time of her retirement, she had acquired more tournament titles than any man or woman in tennis history, winning at least one tour event for 21 consecutive years. She dominated the scene in the 1980s and is the game's all-time money winner. Martina boasts two winning streaks: 74 singles matches and 109 in doubles with Pam Shriver.
Mary Carillo joined CBS Sports as a tennis analyst in 1986 and has covered the U.S. Open Tennis Championships as a match analyst with Tony Trabert each year since. She also serves as the analyst for the CBS Television Network's late-night highlights program.
To the chants and screams of thousands across the nation, Mia Hamm and her U.S. team played and won the 1999 Women's World Cup. Featured in Women's Soccer World Magazine and Sports Illustrated, named the Women's Sports Foundation Athlete of the Year (1997), and one of the "50 Most Beautiful People" in People Magazine (1997), she now dominates the growing world of women's sport.
Michelle Kwan is one of the most popular winter Olympians of all-time. An Olympic silver and bronze medalist, Kwan earned her seventh World medal in March (a silver) to become the most decorated figure skater in World Championship history, including four titles.
At the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Canada, the world met "Nadia." At age 14, this Romanian dynamo captured the hearts and minds of the world with her daring and perfection. As contributing editor of International Gymnast Magazine, she is still very involved in her sport. She speaks five languages and is a commentator at major gymnastics competitions for several television networks.
Her athletic ability was nationally recognized as early as 1974. As a sophomore at Far Rockaway High School in Queens, N.Y. the young Nancy Lieberman was invited to participate in ABAUSA's national team trials for a chance to play on the United States' first ever Women's Olympic Basketball Team.
Since the birth of the Women's National Basketball Association in 1997, Swoopes has stormed onto the sports scene as one of the nation's most skilled and impressive athletes, earning the nickname that testifies to her speed and grace on the court, "Wind."
Twenty-eight year old Vonetta Flowers grew up in one of the worst neighborhoods in Birmingham and through Track, went on to become a seven-time All-American at the University of Alabama in Birmingham.
In one of the greatest Olympic performances by an American woman, Amy Van Dyken won four gold medals at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Van Dyken, whose victories came in the 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter butterfly, 4x100 free relay and 4x100 medley relay, is the only American woman to win four gold medals at a single Olympics.
Billie J. Moore is one of the most successful coaches in the history of women's intercollegiate basketball. She is recognized both nationally and internationally for achievements in the advancement of the sport.
In 1964, Donna deVarona won two gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics. During her swimming career, she held 18 world records and 33 national records in all strokes and was named the most outstanding female athlete in the world by Associated Press and United Press International. Featured as the cover girl for magazines such as Life, Time, The Saturday Evening Post and twice for Sports Illustrated, Donna is recognized as the Queen of Swimming of her era.
Marla Runyan placed third in the qualifying trials for the Women's 1500 meters earning a spot on the 2000 U.S. Olympic team the first time a legally blind person has ever accomplished such a feat. Diagnosed with Stargard's Disease as a child, Marla has been legally blind for 20 years; but she refuses to consider her blindness a handicap. "It is not a factor or an excuse for a bad race" she says. Marla's performance in the Olympics stands as a testimony to what can be achieved through determination and hard work.
Pam Shriver is a powerful doubles player with 22 career Grand Slam championships to prove it. Shriver and Martina Navratilova teamed to win 20 Grand Slam doubles titles and 79 overall. The duo won a record 109 consecutive doubles matches from April 1983 to July 1985.
Whether she is playing in the Olympics or signing autographs for her adoring fans Tiffeny does it with energy and concern. She has given so much back to the game and continues to encourage young soccer players everywhere to follow their dreams.
One of the best female tennis players in the modern era. Only the 12th woman to have won in excess of 500 matches; Member of the U.S. Olympic team in 1988 and 1992, where she captured a gold medal in doubles (with Pam Shriver) and a bronze medal in singles competition. Her highest ranking came in 1989, when she was ranked by the WTA as 4th best in the world.
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