The year 2023 is turning out to be a year for black athletes. From tennis and gymnastics to the WNBA, black athletes, particularly black female athletes, are establishing their might as forces to be reckoned with. They are not only winning, but they are also breaking records that have been there for years.
Below are four black female athletes who have found success this year.
Since making her Grand Slam debut at the age of 17, Coco Gauff has cemented her name in tennis history, one bat swing at a time. In 2021, Gauff broke a 15-year record to become the youngest woman to reach a grand slam quarterfinal at the 2021 French Open. Not only that, but she became the youngest American woman to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal since Venus Williams did it at the age of 17 at the 1997 U.S. Open. Gauff won her maiden WTA Tour singles championship at the 2019 Linz Open at the age of 15, becoming the Tour’s youngest singles champion since 2004. She rose to attention after defeating Williams in the first round of the 2019 Wimbledon Championships.
On September 9, 2023, Gauff won the U.S. Open women’s singles, making her one of the youngest female tennis players to win the competition. The 19-year-old earned $3 million in prize money, per Forbes.
Outside the playing field, Gauff has also grossly pocketed $12 million through endorsements, appearance fees and other business interests over the last 12 months. It is also estimated that her U.S. Open win will pave the way for her to fetch more money in the near future.
Simone Biles is one of the most iconic and dominant athletes in the world of gymnastics. With her incredible talent, hard work, and unwavering determination, she has shattered records, defied expectations, and inspired millions around the globe. At the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, Biles has cemented her legacy as the most decorated athlete of all time.
In August this year, Biles won a record eighth all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships, breaking a 90-year record. Biles’ win came weeks after she came back to the competition following her break to prioritize her mental health. The four-time Olympic champion’s floor routine earned a score of 15.400, with an all-around total of 118.450, four points clear of runner-up Shilese Jones. 2021 World all-around silver medalist Leanne Wong came third, scoring 111.100 for the bronze medal.
Biles is now ahead of Alfred Jochim, who claimed his seventh U.S. title in 1933. The 26-year-old matched Jochim’s record in 2021 after she first became U.S. all-around champion in 2013.
American National Athlete Sha’Carri Richardson clocked her biggest win since the Tokyo Olympic Trials with a speed of 10.76 seconds during her race at the Diamond League season opener in Doha.
Richardson won the 100m in 10.76 seconds, the world’s best time, beating the last two world 200m champions, NBC Sports reported. Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson and Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith came in second and third at the event.
Richardson emerged first in the nation’s 100m race in 2019 and won the Olympic trials in 2021, but was unable to continue due to her drug use at the time. Even though she was eliminated from last year’s national 100m and was kicked out of a race, she still motivated herself, saying “I feel like I ain’t done, and I’m the queen.” In April, she earned her title as the third woman ever to run fast in any condition, joining the likes of Flo-Jo and Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Hera. She also won her first world title at the world championships in Budapest this summer.
A’ja Wilson plays in the WNBA. The Las Vegas Aces forward has had a magical season, winning a WNBA title and working on a potential third. She was the WNBA MVP in 2020 and 2022.
In August, she tied the WNBA scoring record after a 112-100 win over the Atlanta Dream, making her one of the biggest stars in recent years in the NBA. She leveled Liz Cambage’s 53 points for the Dallas Wings in 2018.