Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick introduced legislation alongside Rep. Mikie Sherrill to award Billie Jean King the Congressional Gold Medal. A tennis legend in the United States, King was also instrumental in the passage of Title IX and has used her platform to advocate for equality for female athletes. In 2009, she was the first female athlete to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“Billie Jean King is an incredible athlete and unmatched trailblazer for women and girls in sports,” Fitzpatrick said. “As we continue to celebrate International Women’s Month, I am honored to introduce this legislation honoring her important accomplishments, and I thank Congresswoman Sherill for joining me in recognizing Billie Jean’s tireless advocacy for female athletes.”
The resolution is also supported by the United States Tennis Association.
“There may be no athlete more deserving of the Congressional Gold Medal than Billie Jean King,” said Brian Hainline, chairman of the board and president, USTA. “Perhaps most impressive about her legacy is that her greatness on and off the court has not only inspired countless girls and women to also aim for their own greatness, but has pushed for them to be properly compensated for these efforts. Billie Jean King fought for equal prize money at the U.S. Open 50 years ago, and that giant leap has become the norm in tennis. She continues to fight for equal opportunity and pay to this day, and has been more influential than any athlete in paving the way for countless females in their professions. As we celebrate 50 years of equal pay at the U.S. Open, the time is perfect for Billie Jean King to become the first female athlete to be given the Congressional Gold Medal.”