NEW YORK, Nov. 19, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The Women's Sports Foundation (WSF) announced today its 2020 Travel & Training Fund grant recipients, awarding a total of $75,000 to 15 individual athletes and two women's teams, across eight states and 13 sports. Fueled by WSF National Partner Gatorade®, the Fund is designed to support women athletes with elite potential who have financial need and would otherwise be unable to afford basic necessities such as coaching, travel and equipment – vital to achieve even higher performance levels and rankings. This year's class of grant recipients is largely represented by athletes training and competing to make the USA teams for the upcoming 2021 and 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo (summer) and Beijing (winter), respectively.
The cost to train and compete can be a challenge for every athlete and, given a historic bias toward men's sports, that is often amplified for women. This year has been especially challenging as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have had a significant impact. In applying for the grant, many of this year's recipients reported difficulties in gaining access to training facilities, a loss of sponsorships and lack of competitions.
WSF, an ally, advocate and catalyst in women's sports, is the first organization to ever offer grants to elite women athletes, building a three-decade legacy that remains as important today as it was at inception. The Foundation is driven to help advance and inspire women athletes while making the playing field more inclusive. Funding these athletes helps ensure an ongoing pipeline of role models and inspiration for girls on fields, courts, in gyms and pools across the country, chasing similar dreams and aspirations.
"The Women's Sports Foundation exists to enable girls and women to reach their potential in sport and life," said WSF CEO, Deborah Antoine. "The financial burdens of competing at an elite level, ideally, should not be a limiting barrier to an athlete or team achieving their best. We believe in the power of women athletes to show the world what they can do, and to show young girls what they too can become. We are so very proud of the Olympic, Paralympic and National Championship legacy of our Travel & Training Fund, and we are eternally grateful for the support of our National Partner, Gatorade."
The 2020 class of grant recipients are a diverse representation of women athletes across sports. Of the 52 athletes who will benefit from WSF and Gatorade's support - 15 individual athletes, the remainder via teams - six compete in adaptive sports. Further, the 13 sports represented are comprised of eight summer and five winter sports. See below for the list of 2020 Travel & Training Fund recipients.
"We at Gatorade believe in the importance of women in sports and are committed to providing female athletes with the same level of support and accessibility as their male counterparts," said Shawna Ryan, Gatorade Director of Experiential Marketing. "We're proud of our long-running partnership with Women's Sports Foundation to provide financial assistance, to not only help foster the success of the grant recipients, but to inspire young girls in the game to know they have potential to be future champions themselves."
Since its inception in 1984, WSF has awarded Travel & Training Fund grants to more than 1,500 individual athletes and teams. Many of these athletes went on to capture national championships and Olympic and Paralympic medals, including: figure skaters Michelle Kwan and Tarah Kayne, diver Mary Ellen Clark, track sprinter Scout Bassett, bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor, fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, softball player Rachel Garcia, the U.S. Women's National Water Polo Team and U.S. Deaf Soccer Women's National Team.
The grants, ranging from $2,500 to $10,000, help keep elite women athletes on track to compete at the highest levels in their sport. Which in turn, also helps prepare them for leadership roles now and in the future, beyond the competition. Athletes interested in applying for next year's grant cycle can find information here.
2020 Travel & Training Grant Recipients
Training for 2021 Olympic and Paralympic Games
Gwendolyn Berry, The Woodlands, TX - Track & Field
Amy Dixon, Encinitas, CA - Triathlon
Alanna Flax-Clark, Granada Hills, CA - Equestrian
Josephine Fouts, San Diego, CA - Cycling
Sophia Herzog, Poncha Springs, CO - Swimming
Maggie Malone, Birmingham, AL - Track & Field
Nia Toliver, Los Angeles, CA - Rugby
Mallory Velte, Sacramento, CA - Wrestling
Roble Shea Sailing (team), Marco Island, FL – Sailing
Training for 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games
Danielle Aravich, Eagle, ID - Biathlon
Hailey Choi, Clifton, VA - Speed Skating
Kelly Curtis, Miami, FL - Skeleton
Hannah Halvorsen, Anchorage, AK - Cross Country Skiing
Alysa Liu, Oakland, CA - Figure Skating
Audrey Lu, Frisco, TX - Figure Skating
Joy Rondeau, Granby, CO – Biathlon
Training for 2021 Rugby World Cup
USA Rugby Women's National Team XVs, Lafayette, CO - Rugby
About Women's Sports Foundation
The Women's Sports Foundation exists to enable girls and women to reach their potential in sport and life. We are an ally, an advocate and a catalyst. Founded by Billie Jean King in 1974, we strengthen and expand participation and leadership opportunities through research, advocacy, community programming and a wide variety of collaborative partnerships. The Women's Sports Foundation has positively shaped the lives of millions of youth, high school and collegiate student-athletes, elite athletes and coaches. We're building a future where every girl and woman can #KeepPlaying and unlock the lifelong benefits of sport participation. All girls. All women. All sports.® To learn more about the Women's Sports Foundation, please visit www.WomensSportsFoundation.org.
The Gatorade Company, a division of PepsiCo (NASDAQ: PEP), meets the needs of consumers who participate in Sports and Fitness, through brands that include Gatorade, Propel, Muscle Milk and Bolt24. The solutions they provide are driven by a deep understanding of the unique needs and occasions of different types of sports and fitness. Gatorade, their marquee brand, is underpinned by more than 50-year history of studying the best athletes in the world and sports-nutrition research by the Gatorade Sport Science Institute, allowing it to provide scientifically-formulated products that meet athletes' needs both on and off the field. For more information and a full list of products, please visit www.gatorade.com.
Women's Sports Foundation
SOURCE Women's Sports Foundation