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View Full Version : Greater Accomplishment: BJK or Danica?



Moose
04-22-2008, 06:36 PM
the PTI guys were discussing this tonight while I was at the gym. It was a fascinating discussion, so I thought I'd post a poll, and see what people think. We might well be a biased group, but let's see what happens.

The discussion was, in the "big picture", who's accomplishment against the boys is greater. Billie Jean defeats Bobby Riggs in one of the most famous sporting exhibitions of all time. Added a huge air of legitimacy to the men v. women debate of the day. But it was an exhibition, featuring one of, if not THE premier female athlete of her day against a 55 year old man.

Then there is Danica, who this weekend became the first woman to beat the mens field in an Indy Car race. Rather than an exhibition, this was an actual race, and Danica was racing against the current best of her sport. But on the other hand, it's driving a car, which arguably doesn't go a long way in making the argument that a female out-physically performed a male.

So who do you say....and why?

bea26
04-22-2008, 06:38 PM
Danica's wasn't in front of that kind of audience. Danica should be damn proud, but BJK left an actual sociological legacy.

mmmm8
04-22-2008, 06:40 PM
IMO, Billie Jean just because it came at a time when it mattered more.

Not to mention physical abilities are more pertinent in tennis, and it's a global sport so the effect was further-reaching

dryrunguy
04-22-2008, 06:42 PM
Aren't they looking at the wrong markers? :o

Beating Bobby Riggs was one of the least important things BJK ever did, though I fully understand it's significance at the time. One could argue that BJK's greatest accomplishments occurred off the court... e.g., starting the Virginia Slims tour and emerging as a feminist icon.

Danica has a SI swimsuit spread. :o

But if they insisted on examining the wrong markers, then it's still BJK. :)

shtexas
04-22-2008, 06:42 PM
These barriers can only be broken once. BJK was the one. She paved the way for those who followed...in any sport.

Moose
04-22-2008, 06:45 PM
What Danica accomplished this weekend was huge...but I'm in the BJK camp also. It was just such a huge event, and a statement win. It definitely impacted its time. I think the biggest thing Danica's win did was take her out of Kournikova-ville, which was the reference that most sportcasters seem to have been using with her up to this point - and it really wasn't a fair comparison, since Anna K. played against women, while Danica plays against men. Think it had as much to do with the selling of Danica as a sex symbol.

bea26
04-22-2008, 06:51 PM
That said, you're not really asking an impartial crowd here. :)

Jack
04-22-2008, 09:46 PM
Danica's win was impressive, but a couple days later and it's pretty much forgotten. The fact that people remember what BJK accomplished 30+ years later really says it all.

JTContinental
04-22-2008, 10:53 PM
I'm sorry, but race car driving falls into the "barely a sport" category for me.

I totally love it when women compete against the boys club and win, but for me, it's a no contest win for BJK.

ponchi101
04-22-2008, 11:01 PM
Without BJK there would have never been a Danica. Her scope was broader than just tennis.
No Danica, no Anika, no super huge endorsements for women athletes

Athletic wise? Danika. Somebody here points out (correctly) than Riggs was 55. Danika really had no handicaps or watered down field against her.
But I state the same: NO BJK, No Danika

rabbit
04-22-2008, 11:06 PM
I'd love to see an exhibition match between Serena and John McEnroe! It would probably be really entertaining :)

JTContinental
04-22-2008, 11:06 PM
Athletic wise? Danika. Somebody here points out (correctly) than Riggs was 55. Danika really had no handicaps or watered down field against her.

I think my second place award would go to Michelle Wie making the cut of a men's event.

oohsalmon
04-22-2008, 11:43 PM
I think my second place award would go to Michelle Wie making the cut of a men's event.

She did that?

She annoyed me. Win something with the women before you go out to try to make a statement with the men.

mmmm8
04-23-2008, 04:12 AM
I'd love to see an exhibition match between Serena and John McEnroe! It would probably be really entertaining :)

Pretty sure one of Serena's serves would just go right through him and leave a hole

nelslus
04-23-2008, 07:03 AM
Pretty sure one of Serena's serves would just go right through him and leave a hole

Now that's something I'd pay good money to see. Let it be so.

nelslus
04-23-2008, 07:04 AM
An item to add to my (admittedly long) list of why I love TAT: Y'all just get it.

beaujarkko
04-23-2008, 07:43 AM
I think my second place award would go to Michelle Wie making the cut of a men's event.

What a colossal joke it is. Annika tried it once, then walked away with the realization that it's not the same at all. Wie persists, and poorly.

ponchi101
04-23-2008, 08:21 AM
Pretty sure one of Serena's serves would just go right through him and leave a hole

M, you jest, right?
Mac is not 55.

oohsalmon
04-23-2008, 09:33 AM
I want Serena to play Mac.

And I want no one but the two of them to be there, and I don't want anyone to be told who won.

But I want them to play.

rabbit
04-23-2008, 09:36 AM
I want Serena to play Mac.

And I want no one but the two of them to be there, and I don't want anyone to be told who won.

But I want them to play.

For Serena's sake, there should also be some linesmen and an umpire :lipsrsealed:

ptmcmahon
04-23-2008, 09:43 AM
She did that?

She annoyed me. Win something with the women before you go out to try to make a statement with the men.

I'm pretty sure she didn't...she was one stroke away from doing it once though (2004)

ptmcmahon
04-23-2008, 09:45 AM
Having not seen the match I don't really know what kind of shape Riggs was in so I can't comment on the real significance. Was he at all in playing shape still?

ponchi101
04-23-2008, 09:56 AM
Having not seen the match I don't really know what kind of shape Riggs was in so I can't comment on the real significance. Was he at all in playing shape still?

Lots of legends about this match, but there are some interesting stories.
A few weeks earlier, Riggs had defeated Margaret Court convincingly (1 & 2). BJK felt there was no way to get out of the match, since the drubbing of Court was highly publicized. And Court was the #1 player of the world then.
Riggs was not completely out of shape, but he was not a top player even in his category. There were a lot, a lot of stories that Riggs, ever the hustler, had bet on BJK winning. Seeing how much of a hustler he was (see his Wimbledon 1939 bet) that does not sound so far fetched. Also, Riggs was a declared feminist, and actually got along well with BJK. This only brought more credibility that he dropped the match to favor the women's tennis tour, which he openly supported.
Again, stories. They do not take anything away from BJK achievement (just imagine the pressure of that match) but help explain why Jack Kramer called Riggs "the most underrated player ever".

nelslus
04-23-2008, 09:59 AM
What a colossal joke it is. Annika tried it once, then walked away with the realization that it's not the same at all. Wie persists, and poorly.

Actually, I have to disagree just a bit. Wie actually did quite well in some of the men's tournaments, at least at first. And, as JT pointed out- she did make the cut of a men's tournament- an Asian tour event. Remember, too- she also at one point did incredibly well in a few of the women's Majors. However- now that she's been falling apart, and has the potential of being a golf has-been at 18....with hindsight, this all could certainly have been far too much too soon. IMO it would be awful if she can't ever reach what had looked for awhile would be an incredible amount of potential. Truly, though- I don't think that the blame should be put on her, but her family for pushing her so hard.

ptmcmahon
04-23-2008, 10:14 AM
Forgot about the Asian tour.

My vote was for Danica, but note that I am pretty ignorant about the BJK - Riggs match and wasn't around to see the consequences. Had I been around then I may very well vote differently.

nelslus
04-23-2008, 10:25 AM
Lots of legends about this match, but there are some interesting stories.
A few weeks earlier, Riggs had defeated Margaret Court convincingly (1 & 2). BJK felt there was no way to get out of the match, since the drubbing of Court was highly publicized. And Court was the #1 player of the world then.
Riggs was not completely out of shape, but he was not a top player even in his category. There were a lot, a lot of stories that Riggs, ever the hustler, had bet on BJK winning. Seeing how much of a hustler he was (see his Wimbledon 1939 bet) that does not sound so far fetched. Also, Riggs was a declared feminist, and actually got along well with BJK. This only brought more credibility that he dropped the match to favor the women's tennis tour, which he openly supported.
Again, stories. They do not take anything away from BJK achievement (just imagine the pressure of that match) but help explain why Jack Kramer called Riggs "the most underrated player ever".

Riggs at that time IMO was most definitely not a feminist- declared or otherwise. BJK has written about how much of a pest she thought he was at that time. Perhaps a lot of his anti-women talk was just meant to drum up business for the match. But, he was hardly a feminist. Later on, with time, they did become pretty close.

It is true that Riggs was such a hustler that, who knows what he actually thought. It would appear that Riggs trained harder for Margaret than BJK. Plus, as incredible a champ as Margaret was- she also shockingly could choke during pressure matches- for example, she never achieved quite as much at Wimbledon, relatively speaking, as one might expect from someone of her caliber. BTW- in one of Margaret's books, she claims that what shocked her is how soft Riggs hit- that she felt like she was playing a weekend club player, and couldn't adjust. Bottom line- Margaret choked.

It would appear that, for the BJK match (and I've read the books available about all of this, including a fairly recent book on Riggs), he did focus too much on the hype and PR- and drank/partied too much. Some of his peers think indeed he did tank the match, perhaps because he had placed bets on BJK- some of his peers don't think so.

Again, because he was such a hustler- we'll never really know the truth. For example- in the Riggs biography, it casts doubt on his often-told tall tale that the bet something like $100 on himself in the three disciplines and ended up making something like 100,000 pounds after winning the singles, doubles and mixed. So, who knows what's the real truth? Bottom line- the effect from the match big-time helped women's tennis. And ultimately IMO- this is all that matters.

Scotty
04-26-2008, 08:01 AM
Interesting article in the LA Times about endorsements in women's sports:
Payback time for women's sports? (http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-women26apr26,1,7809094.story)

Race car driver Danica Patrick finally beat the boys at their own game Sunday, grabbing the checkered flag at the Indy Japan 300. And, thousands of miles away in Florida, golfer Lorena Ochoa tied an LPGA record by notching her fourth consecutive tour victory.

Now the athletes, both 26 but with styles as different as their sports, can try to do something equally difficult: spin their winning weekend into sports marketing gold.

No matter that Sparks basketball rookie Candace Parker, yet to play her first WNBA game, recently signed sponsorship deals, with Gatorade and Adidas. When it comes to pitching goods and services, most female athletes continue to fall short of what their male counterparts earn.

No one of either sex comes close to Tiger Woods, who collected an estimated $100 million in the year ended June 2007 from off-the-course earnings, according to Forbes' Celebrity 100 list. Other male athletes high on Forbes' annual list: Oscar De La Hoya, $43 million; David Beckham, $33 million; and Derek Jeter, $28 million.

Maria Sharapova, the Russian-born tennis star who lives in Manhattan Beach, is Forbes' top-earning female athlete with an estimated $23 million from corporate deals. Among the handful of women on the list: Michelle Wie ($19 million), Serena Williams ($14 million) and Patrick ($5 million). Unlike on the golf course, Mexico's Ochoa, the sport's top-ranked woman, failed to make the cut.

more at: http://www.latimes.com/news/la-sp-women26apr26,1,4747181.story?track=rss

oohsalmon
04-26-2008, 03:36 PM
How is Michelle Wie making more than Serena?

Boo.