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Diversity and Inclusion in Sports

Posted on January 08 2023

Diversity and Inclusion in Sports

GeoJournal

Dear Educator,

With the start of a new year, Maps101 is focusing on a theme we will return to throughout 2023, so you can include more about DEI—Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion—in your classroom. This week, we are looking at athletes that have broken barriers, become the greatest in their respective sporting events, and fought for rights and recognition. We have articles on Black athletes like Jackie Robinson, who was the first Black player in Major League Baseball, Jesse Owens winning gold at the height of Nazi power in Germany, basketball great Kobe Bryant, “The Greatest” boxer ever (you no doubt know who we mean!), and Usain Bolt—consistently the fastest sprinter for years. We will also look at women in sports, including Title IX, soccer star Meghan Rapinoe, tennis great Billie Jean King, and all-around athlete Babe Didrikson Zaharias.
Jackie Robinson was the first Black professional baseball player to play in the “Big Leagues,” aka Major League Baseball. He played for the Brooklyn Dodgers beginning in 1947, at first base. With his signing by the Dodgers, Robinson broke through the racial segregation of baseball. Have students read more about Robinson in this GNN article.
READ THE ARTICLE

Jesse Owens won four gold medals at the Olympic Games of 1936, held in Berlin, Germany, during Adolph Hitler’s dictatorship and the Nazi Party’s regime. His medals were in track and field events, including sprints and the long jump. He is recognized as one of the most important athletes in track and field history. Because Hitler and the Nazis believed in the superiority of the white race, Owens’s achievements, in Berlin, were even more significant politically and personally. Students who today may not know of Owens should be introduced to this major figure from sports.

READ THE ARTICLE

This article focuses on another African American athlete: Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant played basketball for the Lakers from 1996 to 2016. Bryant was also on the gold-medal winning team for the U.S. at the 2008 Olympic games that took place in Beijing, China. Bryant died tragically in a helicopter crash, along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. This biography further delves into Bryant’s career.

READ THE ARTICLE

Muhammad Ali, known as “The Greatest,” is one of the most important figures in sports, not just as a boxer, but also as an activist. In his prime, Ali refused to comply with the military draft to fight in the Vietnam War, due to his religious beliefs. He had converted to Islam. He lost his boxing titles and his ability to compete professionally. However, he stuck to his beliefs. He is one of the most famous conscientious objectors of the war and lost out on advancing his career during his prime. However, he was eventually reinstated and allowed to fight. He regained the heavyweight title. Today, he is regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time, if not The Greatest, as his nickname suggests. But he fought more than just in the ring. He also fought for his beliefs.

READ THE ARTICLE

Sprinting is a track and field sport where runners try to run as fast as possible for a short distance of either 100 meters or 200 meters. It is not an event that is about endurance. Sprinting is all about speed. Usain Bolt, from Jamaica, is one of the greatest sprinters of all time. He won three consecutive gold medals in both sprint distances, for 2008, 2012, and 2016. He also won medals in relay races. Students can learn more about this charismatic—and fast—athlete in this GNN article. As always, you can use the questions at the end to engage students in classroom discussion.

READ THE ARTICLE

Diversity does not just refer to greater inclusion of Blacks and Black history. Women too are underrepresented, especially in the world of sports. Women are paid less than men in the same sport, as fewer people watch women’s athletics. However, women in sports are becoming recognized more than ever. This exclusive article expands on the reasons men’s sports have dominated, how Title IX legislation has helped to close the gender gap, and on women who are behind the scenes in sports as commissioners, presidents of associations, owners, and more.

READ THE ARTICLE

Women’s soccer star Meghan Rapinoe was born in Redding, California. Not only is Rapinoe internationally recognized for her skills on the field, she is also an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. In 2022, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Joe Biden. Students may not be as familiar with Rapinoe, but with this article, they will be introduced to this important female athlete.

READ THE ARTICLE

We hope you have enjoyed this mini-sample of Maps101 that focuses on sports in Maps101. The featured resources above will give you an idea of the type of content available with your subscription. We hope your weekly tour of topics in the GeoJournal helps not just inform you of themes you can focus on throughout the year, but that it also draws your attention to content you may not have realized is available. Happy hunting for more content that benefits your class this school year. And don’t forget to favorite to save what you use often for easy access.

EXPLORE THE FIELD TRIP

Lastly, this Field Trip spotlights historical and modern figures from Texas. Athlete Babe Didrikson Zaharias is featured. She was both a professional golfer and an Olympic-winning athlete in track and field. Zaharias enjoyed a number of additional sports, including basketball, baseball, tennis, swimming, diving, boxing, and many others! Learn more about her in this Field Trip. Another famous Texan of note for diversity is Jack Johnson, who is also featured. Johnson was the first Black man to win the heavyweight title, way back in 1908!

EXPLORE THE FIELD TRIP

Thank you for taking this tour of content about diversity in sports that is available on Maps101. We hope our weekly tour of topics in this GeoJournal helps not just inform you of themes you can focus on throughout the year, but that it also draws your attention to content you may not have realized is available. Happy hunting for more content that benefits your class this school year. And don’t forget to favorite to save what you use often for easy access.

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