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SI Now: Hitting the gym with wellness expert Laila Ali
Sports Illustrated
SI Now: Hitting the gym with wellness expert Laila Ali
Friday October 17th, 2014

“She sees the game differently than you do,” Men’s Health magazine tweeted last week, generalizing all women’s thought processes when they’re watching sports.

This patronizing statement was accompanied with a guide on how to talk to women about sports from a man’s perspective. It suggested that women simply don’t enjoy sports the way men do.

The internet erupted in outrage and the magazine eventually retracted the article and issued an apology. But it yet again raises the issue - whether it’s watching sports or participating in sports, will women ever be seen as equals?

One organization trying to combat the men-only mentality is the Women’s Sports Foundation.

Laila Ali addresses the crowd at the 35th Annual Salute to Women in Sports
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“What the Women's Sports Foundation has really done is create a platform for us to meet one another, to continue celebrating our stories, share best practices," said Julie Chu at the 35th Annual Salute to Women in Sports in New York Wednesday.

Mo'Ne Davis addresses the crowd at the 35th Annual Salute to Women in Sports
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Chu, who is fresh off a silver medal win in Sochi for the American Ice Hockey team, says she grew up playing against boys her age because girls hockey was nonexistent. “Hopefully we can become advocates and the voice of young girls.”

“I was talking to Laila Ali on her show and I stalked a picture of her on her twitter,” Michelle Kwan, five-time World Champion and former figure skater, said.

“That’s the epitome of what the Women’s Sports Foundation is. These women are athletic, feminine, strong, and it’s a great combination.”

Laila Ali, former boxer and daughter of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, said, “It shouldn’t matter whether you're a woman or a man, but we have to stake our claim because people count us out all the time.” She currently co-hosts the first-ever nationally televised all-female talk show ‘We Need to Talk’ on CBS.

Simone Biles addresses the crowd at the 35th Annual Salute to Women in Sports
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The Annual Salute not only attracted outspoken and former professional athletes like Ali but also rising young female athletes like 17-year-old gymnast Simone Biles. Biles won “Sportswoman of the Year,” the biggest award of the night, as the current reigning back-to-back Gymnastics World Champion.

Little league and pop culture sensation Mo’ne Davis was also in attendance. Davis was recognized for becoming the first female pitcher to throw a shutout in the Little League World Series.

"No matter who you are, you should be able to do what you like to do and what you've always dreamed of doing," says Davis.


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