Laureus World Sports Awards, Best Sporting Moment August nominees: Kathrine Switzer's run for rights
One of the nominations for Laureus Best Sporting Moment is Kathrine Switzer, who became one of the most iconic leaders for women's rights movement all over the world in 1967 after she officially completed the then all-male Boston Marathon.
Having registered under the name KV Switzer, her gender went unnoticed by officials at the start line, but a few miles in she was attacked by an angry official who tried to pull her off the course – creating an enduring image of women’s rights history. With the help of a bodyblock from her boyfriend, Switzer evaded the official and finished the race in four hours and 20 minutes.
Earlier this year, on 17th April, she ran the same race again at the age of 70. She finished just under 25 minutes slower in 4:44:31. She wore her original number — 261 — which was retired by race organisers after she crossed the finish line as a mark of honour.
In her memoir, Switzer recalled the moment she was attacked. “A big man, a huge man, with bared teeth was set to pounce, and before I could react he grabbed my shoulder and flung me back, screaming: ‘Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers!’ I knew if I dropped out no one would believe women could run distances and deserved to be in the Boston Marathon.”
Women were officially allowed to enter the Boston Marathon five years later in 1972, and to compete in the Olympics at the distance in 1984. Now 58% of marathon runners in the US are women.
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Laureus World Sports Awards have been in existence for the last 17 years, with the first Laureus Awards held in 2000. Other than the Laureus Best Sporting Moment, Laureus announces its awards in eight different categories, some of them being: Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year, Laureus World Team of the Year.