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Female representation in sport is FINALLY getting the attention it deserves in this incredibly inspiring new BBC series

It's about time.

02 Jul 2019

Yesterday, 15-year-old Cori Gauff defeated five-time champion Venus Williams during the first round of Wimbledon. After the shocking turn of events, the two opponents united in an act of rare sporting camaraderie as they showed their heartfelt support for each other. Cori hailed the Williams sisters her 'idols', while Venus stated 'the sky's the limit,' for her up-and-coming competitor.

This act of female unity sat perfectly in line with Wimbledon's new guidelines that scrapped the use of single and marital prefixes for women during matches 'to move with the times'. Along with its stance on equal pay, Wimbledon is leading the charge in women's sports where other disciplines and tournaments should follow suit. As Maria Sharapova stated in her exclusive interview with GLAMOUR, "female athletes are fighting for that equality, which is the right thing to do but is it right to still be doing it in 2019? No!".

This match is one of many iconic moments to happen in this summer's celebration of women's sport. The England female football team are through to the semi-finals of the Women's World Cup, all eyes are on the kickass ladies smashing it in the Netball World Cup (Sky are streaming all 60 matches) and British sprinter Dina Asher-Smith triumphed her Olympic rivals in the women's 200m sprint at the Stockholm Diamond League. And thank f*ck these sporting heroines are getting the recognition they deserve because, let's face it, it's long overdue.

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Now, the BBC is bringing us a brand new sports series, Legends. This is part of the channel's Change the Game campaign aimed at celebrating the summer season of women's sport and putting influential female athletes into the limelight.

In Legends, big names stars including Alicia Keys, Maddie Ziegler, Ian Wright and Jessie J will honour the careers of some of the world's most esteemed female athletes including Serena Williams, Simone Biles, Kelly Smith, Lindsey Vonn and Cathy Freeman, who have challenged stereotypes, overcome obstacles and ultimately paved the way for women in sport.

In the first episode, Alicia Keys says of Serena Williams, “the amount of power that is in that body and mind, is absolutely awe-inspiring. You look at the human body in a whole new way when you watch Serena play.”

Meanwhile, on Simone Biles’ influence on young people, Maddie Ziegler said: “Watching Simone makes you feel really inspired and every little girl watching her, I know that they are looking up to her because she has the courage and this willing, to be the best she can be.”

While momentum is certainly shifting and this brilliant new series is a start worth cheering for, the matter of female representation in sport remains a work in progress. While sports such as tennis, surfing and volleyball now offer equal prize money, there is still enormous economic disparity. In the Forbes 2019 world 100 highest paid athletes, not a single woman made it into the top 100.

Life may be a marathon not a sprint, but when it comes to gender equality we need to speed up.

The first 3 episodes of Legends are available to stream on BBC iPlayer now.