I’m Steve Ember.
I’m Faith Lapidus with PEOPLE IN AMERICA in VOA Special English. Today we tell
about two women who helped change the world of sports: golfer Betty Jameson and
basketball coach Kay Yow. Both women were founders of women’s sports
Sandra Kay Yow was born in
nineteen forty-two in Gibsonville, North Carolina. She developed a love for basketball from her
parents, Hilton and Lib Yow. She
attended East Carolina University and earned an English degree. She went on to become an English teacher,
librarian and girls’ basketball coach at Jay Allen High School in High Point,
nineteen seventy-one, she began coaching college sports. She became the women’s athletics coordinator
and women’s basketball coach at Elon College in North Carolina. Four years later, North Carolina State
University hired her as the school’s first full-time women’s basketball coach
and athletics coordinator. She also
coached women’s volleyball and softball.
Kay Yow had become a very successful basketball
coach. In nineteen eighty-one she began coaching
women’s national teams. She coached the
United States team in the World University Games. The team finished second, winning a silver medal. Five years later she led the United States women’s
basketball team in the Goodwill Games and FIBA World Championship. Both teams won first place and received gold
nineteen eighty-one, Kay Yow, along with others, founded the Women’s Basketball
Coaches Association. She also served as
president of the group. The WBCA was
established to unite coaches at all levels of the game and to develop
basketball as a sport for women and girls.
nineteen eighty-seven, Kay Yow learned she had breast cancer. She did not let her health problems interfere
with her responsibilities as coach and leader.One of her famous expressions was: “When life kicks you, let it kick you
forward.” Just ten month after learning
she had cancer she coached the United States women’s basketball team to an Olympic
gold medal in Seoul, Korea in nineteen eighty-eight.
Yow has been recognized for her service to the game of basketball. She was
named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the Women’s Basketball
Hall of Fame and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Hall of Fame among
Yow also became well-known for her work in cancer awareness. In two thousand seven she established the Kay
Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund in partnership with the V Foundation for Cancer Research.The V Foundation was named for Yow’s friend
Jimmy Valvano. He was the former coach
of North Carolina State University men’s basketball team. He died of cancer in nineteen
ninety-three. That same year Yow lost
her mother, Lib Yow, to breast cancer.
Kay Yow died in two thousand nine. She was sixty-six years old. Earlier that month, she had announced that
she would not return to coaching that season. She had missed four games because of extreme
lack of physical energy.
had fought sickness from cancer for more than twenty years. Her funeral was held in Cary, North
Carolina. Hundreds of people attended,
including coaches and athletes from NC State and other teams.
During the ceremony, mourners watched a video
message Yow had recorded for the funeral.She thanked them for their support, and she spoke mostly of her strong
religious beliefs which helped her through difficult times, including her
battle with cancer.
She also read a poem she wrote in
nineteen seventy-six called “My Thoughts on Sport.” She talked about the importance of learning
about life through sports. She said
sports stretched her to her limits and sometimes she wanted to quit. She said
winning was more than the score on the board.
Yow touched the hearts and lives of many people. She was known as a great coach, teacher and
friend. She expressed love and kindness
toward people including strangers. Immediately
after her death, Kay Yow was honored at many college basketball games, both
women’s and men’s.
The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association
gave permission for teams to wear the color pink to honor Coach Yow’s work in
educating people about breast cancer.Pink is commonly used by groups that try to raise money to search for a
cure for the disease.
said many kind words about Kay Yow. They
remembered her as a woman of great emotional and religious strength. They spoke of how she fought extreme sickness
in a brave and graceful way.
Duke University men’s basketball head coach
Mike Krzyzewski said:“God bless
Kay. A fighter to the end.”
Betty Jameson was another woman important in the world
of sports. In nineteen fifty, she and twelve other women founded the Ladies
Professional Golf Association. They were
involved in all areas of the sport. They
played, organized golf tournaments, established rules for the group and
supervised membership.The LPGA gained
the attention of many news organizations.They considered Jameson and others to be
beautiful women.Photographers liked
taking pictures of them and began calling them the “glamour girls.”
Jameson was born in nineteen nineteen in Norman, Oklahoma. She grew up in Dallas, Texas. She began playing golf at a very young
age. She was very good in the sport and
won many competitions. In nineteen
thirty-two, Betty Jameson won the Texas Publinx competition. She was just thirteen years old.Two years later, she won the Southern
both nineteen thirty-nine and nineteen forty, Jameson won the United States
Amateur competition. Two years later she
won the Western Open for the first of her three major titles. She completed her non-professional career
with fourteen major victories.
Jameson began playing professional golf in nineteen forty-five. She won many professional titles, including the
United States Women’s Open in nineteen forty-seven. Her score was two hundred ninety-five. She
was the first female golfer to score lower than three hundred in a seventy-two
hole tournament. Years later, she said
it was the best moment of her career.She
finished her career in the Ladies Professional Golf Association with thirteen major
may not seem like many wins compared to women’s golf today. However, during that time golf was considered
a sport for men. Women were not treated the
same as men in sports. The LPGA fought
to change that.The organization was
successful in making women’s golf recognized as a serious professional sport.
Betty Jameson was officially accepted into the Hall
Fame of Women’s Golf in nineteen fifty-one.She became one of six inaugural members of the LPGA Tour Hall of Fame in
nineteen sixty-seven. The LPGA chose to
recognize nineteen fifty-one as the date of her acceptance. She was also named to the World Golf Hall of
Fame and the Women’s Sport Foundation Hall of Fame.
In two thousand, the LPGA celebrated its
fiftieth anniversary. During the
ceremony Betty Jameson was recognized as one of the organization’s top fifty
players and teachers. Jameson and the
twelve other LPGA founders were honored with the Commissioner’s Award. They were recognized for their part in
furthering the cause of women’s golf.
Jameson died in two thousand nine. She
was eighty-nine years old. In her later
years, she was forced to live a simple life because of lack of money. She said the situation caused her to learn
through suffering. She said: “Just like
in golf, you always learn more when you lose than when you win.”
program was written and produced by Lawan Davis. I’m Steve Ember.
I’m Faith Lapidus. You can learn more about famous Americans and download
podcasts of our programs on our Web site, voaspecialenglish.com. Join us again
next week for PEOPLE IN AMERICA in VOA Special English.