WMU News

Girls and Women in Sports Day celebrated Feb 3

Feb. 1, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) professional athlete, Tracy Hanson will speak at the ninth annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day Award Reception at Western Michigan University on Saturday, Feb. 3.

National Girls and Women in Sport Day, celebrated each February, serves to bring attention to the achievements and leadership of female athletes, and to the challenges and issues facing females in sport. This year's national theme is, "No Stopping Us Now!"

Twenty-one area high school seniors and their families will be recognized at a private award reception in Walwood Hall. High school honorees were selected on their athletic achievements, academic accomplishments, community involvement, and leadership potential.

The public can acknowledge this year's award recipients during the WMU women's basketball game versus Central Michigan. The award winners will be recognized during halftime of that game, which begins at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3, in University Arena.

Special awards will be presented to Inge Botts-Longpre, a former WMU athlete and now public school educator, and to Norma Stafford, an emerita member (retired) of the WMU faculty.

Carmento Floyd, wife of the University's president, will present the University welcome and introduce the keynote speaker, Tracy Hanson, LPGA golfer. A graduate of San Jose State University, Hanson joined the LPGA in 1994.

"We want to note the achievements of women in the area of sports through a collaborative effort among the academic, athletic and student affairs units on campus, and the local high school athletic community", said Dr. Deb Berkey, chairperson of the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.

National Girls and Women in Sport Day

The death of Olympic volleyball star Flo Hyman inspired the creation of the first National Girls and women in Sport Day on Feb. 4, 1987. Established by Congress and championed by the Women's Sports Foundation (East Meadows, N.Y.) this yearly event is designed to recognize the achievements and leadership of female athletes and to the challenges and issues facing females in sports.

Flo Hyman, who led the United States team to the silver medal in the 1984 Olympics, was 31 years old when she died in 1986 while playing volleyball in a Japanese league. She died from a ruptured aorta caused by Marfan Syndrome. Marfan is a congenital condition that is found primarily among tall and lanky people, such as Hyman, who was 6'5" tall.

Each year, leaders of the women's sport community attend a ceremony on Capitol Hill to present the Flo Hyman Memorial Award to a female athlete who captures Hyman's "dignity, spirit, and commitment to excellence."

Media contact: Allison McFarland, 616 387-2680, allison.mcfarland@wmich.edu

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