How have these athletes shaped the game?  

While their experiences on and off the field may be like or different than yours, they have all called out injustice and demanded fairness—each starting with the question: what needs to change?


More to think about: What still needs to change?


Amy Cohen


Amy Purdy


Visual description

You are presently standing across from the long wall case that comprises the first part of this exhibit titled We Belong Here that marks the 50th anniversary of Title 9. In front of you is a grouping of cut out photos of eleven athletes, each of whom played a role in transforming sports from a male dominated arena. The photos overlap each other and are arranged in a pyramid.  

Starting at the left side and moving right: Hockey player Megan Duggan wears a blue uniform and skates toward a flying puck. College gymnast Amy Cohen has her arms and one leg extended. Twelve-year-old Adi Topolosky takes aim with a basketball. Rebecca Lobo, wearing a red Team USA uniform, stands with her arms raised, ready to pass the basketball she’s holding behind her head. A team from the World War 2-era All-American Girls Professional Baseball League wears skirted uniforms with knee socks and poses with baseball bats. Behind them, Ibtihaj Muhammad, wearing hijab that covers her head, raises her fencing sword and shouts after medaling at the Olympics. At the top of the pyramid arrangement, transgender skater Cher Strauberry executes a maneuver on her board. Next, African American gymnast Dominique Dawes in a white leotard with red and blue stars does a leaping split at the Olympics. Amy Purdy, an adaptive athlete, stands with her snowboard. Nine-year-old Kristy Rogers plays soccer in a community league. And color barrier-breaking Althea Gibson wearing a white short-sleeve shirt with skorts returns a volley.  

These are just some of the women who changed the game. Where does the fight for fair play in sports go from here? 

Many of the objects in this exhibition have been scanned in 3D!
Check them out at Smithsonian 3D Digitization