The year 2023 is shaping up to be a banner year for black athletes. From tennis to gymnastics to the WNBA, black athletes, particularly black female athletes, are establishing themselves as formidable forces. They are not only winning, but also smashing records that have stood for many years.
The four black female athletes listed below have achieved success this year.
1. Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff has etched her place in tennis history one bat swing at a time since making her Grand Slam debut at the age of 17. At the 2021 French Open, Gauff broke a 15-year record by becoming the youngest woman to reach a major slam quarterfinal.
Not only that, but she became the youngest American woman to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal since Venus Williams in 1997 at the age of 17. Gauff won her first WTA Tour singles title at the 2019 Linz Open, becoming the Tour’s youngest singles champion since 2004. She gained notoriety after beating Williams in the first round of the 2019 Wimbledon Championships.
Outside of the game, Gauff has earned $12 million in endorsements, appearance fees, and other commercial interests in the last year. It is also expected that her victory at the US Open will open the path for her to earn more money in the near future.
2. Simone Biles
Simone Biles is one of gymnastics’ most recognizable and dominant athletes. She has broken records, confounded expectations, and inspired millions around the world with her extraordinary skill, hard work, and unflinching dedication. Biles’ legacy as the most decorated athlete of all time has been sealed at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships.
Biles broke a 90-year record by winning her eighth all-around title at the US Gymnastics Championships in August of this year. Biles’ victory came just weeks after she returned to the competition after taking a vacation to focus on her mental health.
The four-time Olympic champion’s floor routine received a 15.400, giving her an overall total of 118.450, four points ahead of runner-up Shilese Jones. Leanne Wong, the 2021 World all-around silver champion, finished third, scoring 111.100 for the bronze medal.
Biles has now surpassed Alfred Jochim, who won his eighth US title in 1933. After becoming US all-around champion in 2013, the 26-year-old matched Jochim’s record in 2021.
3. Sha’Carri Richardson
Sha’Carri Richardson of the United States won the Diamond League season opener in Doha with a time of 10.76 seconds, her fastest since the Tokyo Olympic Trials.
According to NBC Sports, Richardson won the 100m in 10.76 seconds, the world’s best time, defeating the previous two world 200m champions. Shericka Jackson of Jamaica and Dina Asher-Smith of the United Kingdom finished second and third, respectively.
Richardson won the national 100m title in 2019 and the Olympic trials in 2021, however she was unable to compete owing to drug use at the time. Despite being eliminated from last year’s national 100m and being ejected out of a race, she remained determined, saying, “I feel like I ain’t done, and I’m the queen.”
In April, she became the third woman in history to run fast in any circumstance, joining Flo-Jo and Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Hera. She also won her first world title this summer in the world championships in Budapest.
4. A’ja Wilson