This third panel in the series features an All-Star panel of women who pioneered the fight for women’s equity in sports including Adia Barnes, Kathryn Bertine, A.J. Mleczko, Sarah Spain, and Kathrine Switzer. KOLD News 13 Weekend Anchor/Sports Director Damien Alameda will moderate.

Tickets are free. Hurry and register, seats will go fast.

The University of Arizona, Center for the Philosophy of Freedom, presents a panel of world-class athletes who made history on and off the field of competition: “Women’s Equity in Sports: The Fight, the Scars, and the Thrill of Victory.”

Come hear how these dynamic women create change, confront stereotypes, and work to level the playing field in sports. Their inspirational stories continue to pave the way and help shape a better future for women in sport.  

Panelists will address critical questions during the interactive session:

Did you know what you were getting yourself into?

Was it worth it?

Have we gotten there?

What is next?

With raw candor and poignancy, describing the highs and lows, these women will share their journey, detailing how the courage to rise and make change shaped their future and changed their lives. They will assess how far society has come (a long way) and how far it still must go (even further) so that women worldwide have the same opportunities, recognition, and rewards in sports and society.

Emmy and Associated Press award-winning sports journalist Damien Alameda from KOLD News 13 will moderate this all-star panel:

Adia Barnes is the head coach of the University of Arizona Wildcats women’s basketball team and a former WNBA star. A 1998 University of Arizona graduate, she starred on the court, becoming a U.S. Basketball Writers Association first-team All-American and Pac-10 player of the year in 1997-98. She played professionally for 12 seasons, including winning a WNBA Championship in 2004 with the Seattle Storm. Since returning to her alma mater as head coach in April of 2016, Adia Barnes has built Arizona women’s basketball into a fixture on the national stage of college basketball while developing her legacy as one of the top coaches in the sport. She became the youngest coach since 2014 to make the Final Four and was also the first coach since 2016 to reach the Final Four in their first five years as a head coach. She also helped Arizona become the first team to reach the National Championship game after missing the previous 10+ NCAA Tournaments. Under Barnes’ leadership, the program has ascended to dizzying heights, signing elite recruiting classes and cementing its deep connections with the Tucson community.

Kathryn Bertine established Le Tour Entier, which resulted in the creation of a women’s race at the Tour de France, in which she competed in 2014. In addition to her athletic achievements and activism, Bertine is an author, filmmaker, and public speaker. She is the author of All the Sundays Yet to Come, As Good as Gold, The Road Less Taken, STAND (A memoir on activism. A manual for change), and director of the award-winning documentary film, Half the Road. A former columnist and editor at ESPN, she now serves as CEO of Homestretch Foundation, which provides free temporary housing and other support for working women living or earning below the poverty line, focusing on women who have careers in endurance sports. Bertine was named “2022-23 University of Arizona Alumni of the Year” for UA’s College of Social & Behavioral Sciences.

A.J. Mleczko is an analyst for National Hockey League (NHL) coverage on ESPN, a two-time Olympic hockey medalist, and made history as the first woman to work as an in-booth analyst for an NHL postseason game. A member of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, Mleczko helped Team USA win the first-ever gold medal awarded in women’s hockey at the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano and, four years later, the silver medal at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. Mleczko played collegiate hockey at Harvard University, helping lead the Crimson to the 1999 Division I Women’s National Championship. She was the winner of the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award that year for being the top female college ice hockey player in the United States. Mleczko has worked as an analyst for NBC Sports’ hockey coverage since 2006, covering four Winter and two Summer Olympic Games during that span.

Sarah Spain is an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning sports journalist who has been a jack of all trades in her decade-plus at ESPN, from radio to podcasting and television to writing. Spain is on the Gatorade Women’s Advisory Board and is a co-owner of the Chicago Red Stars of the National Women’s Soccer League. Before her career in journalism, Spain received All-Conference, All-Area, and All-State accolades in high school for basketball, field hockey, and track and went on to be a heptathlete and co-captain of the Track and Field team at Cornell University. Named to the Crain’s Chicago Business “40 Under 40” list in 2017, she’s the co-founder of “Hear The Cheers,” which provides hearing aids and equipment to kids so they can continue participating in sports and activities. She’s also on the board of Embarc, a program that provides community-driven, experienced-based learning opportunities to low-income Chicago high school students.

Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to officially register for and run the Boston Marathon (1967) and was famously physically attacked mid-stride by a race official for doing so.  She campaigned to make women official in the Boston Marathon in 1972 and, later that year, was one of the creators of the first women’s only road race. After winning the 1974 New York City Marathon, she created the Avon Running Global Women’s Circuit and eventually directed 400 women’s races in 27 countries that led to getting the women’s marathon event into the 1984 Olympic Games.  In 2011, Switzer was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame for creating positive global social change. In 2015, she co-founded 261 Fearless, a global non-profit that empowers women through running and education, now in 13 countries and 5 continents. Switzer is an Emmy Award-winning TV commentator and author of Marathon Woman, Running and Walking for Women Over 40, and co-author of 26.2 Marathon Stories. She has run 42 marathons, including her 50th anniversary of the Boston Marathon in 2017 at age 70.  Her famous bib number ‘261’ was ceremoniously retired after the race but Switzer, 76, still runs on to this day.

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