Power Of IX: Top 40 female athlete countdown on SportsCenter, espnW

The countdown of Top 40 Female Athletes of the Past 40 years, as determined by a blue-ribbon panel commissioned by ESPN, began today on SportsCenter and espnW.

The project is part of the company’s The Power Of IX initiative recognizing the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the groundbreaking legislation that helped open doors for female athletes.

Every weekday until June 22, a chosen athlete will be revealed in special vignettes filmed for the project. SportsCenter‘s 10 a.m. weekday edition will announce an athlete for the first six weeks. The top 10 female athletes will be showcased on the 11 p.m. weeknight SportsCenters from June 11 through June 22 — the day before the 40th anniversary of Title IX. espnW.com will offer in-depth profiles of each athlete.

The athletes were chosen by 24 voters, including former SportsCenter anchor and current Good Morning America host Robin Roberts.

In the video above, Front Row provides you behind-the-scenes access to an interview Roberts gave ESPN regarding the athletes selected. Roberts shares her thoughts on the importance of ESPN to the women’s sports movement.

Return to Front Row for more behind-the-scenes looks at The Power Of IX project. For more information, click here.

  • Sacto1654

    I personally contend that Billie Jean King will likely go #1, mostly because her efforts brought prominence to women’s tennis and she made it possible for the success of players like Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, and every other prominent female tennis player since then.

  • Becky O.

    Not sure how you can rank athletes who span 40 years! The pioneers can’t be overlooked, but there are so many who’ve soared ahead as a result of these efforts to advance women’s sports! I’d like to see the top gals mentioned but not ranked. Same goes for music – each era has it’s own diva. All are head of the class!