Monday, I had the honor of being “On the Beat” for one of my most educational and interesting interviews ever. While Nancy Hogshead-Makar achieved greatness in the 1984 Olympics, winning three gold medals and one silver medal, her more significant accomplishment is her work as an advocate for equality and accountability in sport.
Hogshead-Makar is the CEO of Champion Women. Founded in 2014 by Hogshead-Makar, Champion Women is a non-profit organization providing legal advocacy for girls and women in sports. The Board of Directors is comprised of female athletes, business people, benefactors and leaders of women’s sports organizations. We started this interview with Hogshead-Makar giving a brief overview of Champion Women.
Born in Iowa, her family moved to Florida when she was 11. She trained and actually qualified in the 200m butterfly and the 400 m individual medley for the 1980 Summer Olympics, but the boycott ended that dream.
She went to Duke University after receiving its first swimming scholarship. A four-time ACC champ and a two-time All-American, she was the first woman to be inducted into the Duke Athletics Hall of Fame.
While at Duke, Hogshead-Makar was raped and dealt with PTSD for many months. She persevered through all of it to start training full-time for the 1984 Olympics. She went on to win three gold medals (the women's 100m freestyle, the 4x100m freestyle and the 4x100m medley teams) and a silver medal (in the 200m individual medley).
Hogshead-Makar returned to Duke to earn her undergraduate degree. This is when she really started to do her most important work.
Her work history and accomplishments are to lengthy to list here. As a legal expert, author, speaker and more, she has been listed by Sports Illustrated as one of the most important people in the history of Title IX.
In our interview, Hogshead-Makar discussed Title IX, transgender athletes, testosterone levels, NCAA inequities, employment opportunities for women in sports and more. I could attempt to summarize our talk, but I wouldn't do it justice. Clearly an accomplished speaker, Hogshead-Makar explained all in such a concise, clear manner.
I was so engrossed in listening to her I absentmindedly asked her about teaching, forgetting about her teaching history. Of course, she is a teacher and a great one, too. I learned so much from our 20 minutes of talking. I have long been a supporter of women athletes and women's sports, but I freely admit to not knowing all of the issues and seeking clarity on some issues.Hogshead-Makar provided clarity and also gave me new perspectives on issues.
I still have a lot to learn, but in addition to the knowledge I gained from our interview, I learned of two great informational sources. She discussed ChampionWomen.org and TitleIXSchools.com, both of which I have studied since.
TitleIXSchools.com has done a thorough job of calculating gender equality in schools in scholarship dollars, participation opportunities and benefits. Each school must get a pass in ll three categories to get an overall pass, "because there's no such thing as "partial" equity." That's in bold because it is such a powerful statement.
This was my point when I railed against the NCAA for the Basketball Tournament inequities. There is no room for things being "better" or "closer" than they were. There's no such thing as partial equity. (I wish I used that phrase in my article on the NCAA back then.).
Our interview made me think and rethink. Maybe that's the most important thing I got from our interview.
I really appreciate Hogshead-Makar for her time and consideration in this interview. I encourage everyone to check out ChampionWomen.org and TitleIXSchools.com. Our interview can be found at On the Beat With Nancy Hogshead-Makar.