SBD/19/Sports Society

WOMEN'S SPORTS FOUNDATION HOLDS ANNUAL AWARDS BANQUET

          The Women's Sports Foundation (WSF) held its 20th
     annual awards dinner last night in N.Y. and awarded Mia Hamm
     the organization's Team Sportswoman of the Year award and
     Juli Inkster the Individual Sportswoman of the Year,
     according to Lena Williams of the N.Y. TIMES.  U.S. soccer
     team member Julie Foudy was named President-elect of the WSF
     and will succeed WNBA Shock GM/coach Nancy Lieberman-Cline
     when her term expires next year (N.Y. TIMES, 10/19).  USA
     TODAY's Carol Herwig writes that Foudy "brings the energy
     and enthusiasm of the" WWC to the WSF (USA TODAY), 10/19). 
     In other honors, track star Gail Devers received the Wilma
     Rudolph Courage Award for her battle with Graves Disease and
     former WSF Exec Dir Deborah Slaner Larkin received the
     Billie Jean King Contribution Award (WASHINGTON POST,
     10/19).  Hamm, on women's athletics: "Everyone is waiting
     for us as women athletes to fail, but this room is filled
     with a testament to the courage and success" (N.Y. DAILY
     NEWS, 10/19).  But WSF Founder Billie Jean King said that
     women's sports are still "not getting the corporate backing
     we need."  NEWSDAY's Laura Price, writing under the header
     "Fight For Acceptance Isn't Over," notes, "The ABL failed in
     small markets, the WNBA has survived with the backing of big
     brother NBA.  Despite the sizzling popularity of women's
     tennis, the WTA has no sponsor.  Women's soccer is exploring
     a professional league but will tread carefully before
     leaping."  Hamm: "What we don't want to happen is to be
     around two years and then go away" (NEWSDAY, 10/19).  
          THE VIEW FROM THE TOP: WSF Exec Dir Donna Lopiano
     writes in this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL that last
     night's event was "completely underwritten by co-presenting
     sponsors" GM and Merrill Lynch, along with WSF's national
     sponsor Mervyn's of California.  Lopiano writes that there
     "are generations of female athletes who have taught us that
     there is a women's game that is different from the men's
     game -- not lesser than or better than, but refreshingly
     different" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/18 issue). 

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