Women’s Sports Museum Gala to honor journalist, athletes

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A “Celebration of Women in Sports” fundraising gala will honor four trailblazing athletes and a sports journalist at the second annual event in Sarasota.

This special event to raise money to build the museum in Sarasota is planned for 6 to 11 p.m. Oct. 20 at Michael’s on the Bay at Selby Gardens.

The inaugural Trailblazer honorees include:

Lesley Visser (PHOTO PROVIDED)

Visionary Trailblazer Award: Award-winning sports broadcast journalist Lesley Visser, who is the only woman enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, has won numerous awards in her long, groundbreaking career. She is the only broadcaster, male or female, to have worked on the Final Four, Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals, Triple Crown, Olympics, U.S. Open and World Figure Skating Championship telecasts.

Rebecca Rusch is an award-winning mountain biker and adventure sports athlete. (PHOTO PROVIDED)

Trailblazer MVP Award: Mountain biker and ultra endurance athlete Rebecca Rusch, whose quest to find her father’s plane crash site where he died in the Vietnam War was made into a documentary called “Blood Road.” Rusch, earned her “Queen of Pain” nickname during endurance events in which she is a seven-time world champion.

Trailblazer Courage Award: Equestrian Donna Cheek has been riding and competing as a hunter/jumper for 45 years.In 1981, she represented the United States in Mexico City for the American Junior Show Jumping Championships, which was the first time an African American

Donna Cheek is an award-winning equestrian rider.
(PHOTO PROVIDED)

rider, male or female, had ever ridden for the U.S. internationally in Show Jumping history. Shew was inducted into the Women’s Sports Hall of Distinction in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Trailblazer Lifetime Achievement Award: Tennis player and coach Ann Koger, who is in the United States Tennis Association Middle States Hall of Fame, recently retired after 35 years as coach of women’s tennis and associate athletic director at Haverford College in Delaware County, Pa. In 2016, she was named Coach of the Year by the Professional Tennis Registry.

Ann Koger played on the Virginia Slims women’s tennis circuit in the 1970s. (Photo provided)

Koger is a member of the Black Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2010 and she played professionally on the Virginia Slims tour.

Get ready to celebrate women’s sports at this special event. Part of the proceeds will go toward a scholarship to recognize Sarasota County high school female athletes who plan on attending college. Two female high school student athletes will receive $1,000 scholarships at the event.

For more information and to buy tickets to the gala, CLICK HERE