“I’m always big on love over hate, and I think it’s important that everyone’s treated equally and good to each other.
Hopefully, the LGBT community here in Russia knows that they’re not alone and we’ll learn from them.” What is your favorite Billie Jean King moment?
In the early 1970s, however, tennis had a very different landscape.
After the sport had gone "open" in 1968, professional players had been welcomed back into the mainstream and tournaments started to pay prize money, but the pot for women was often a fifth of what the men earned, or even less.
She’s been actively involved with the Elton John AIDS Foundation, and she was in the first class of inductees into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame. Although she had to miss the opening ceremonies due to the death of her mother, she did arrive later to the games.
In 2014, President Obama included her in a delegation of athletes (including two other LGBT athletes, Caitlin Cahow and Brian Boitano) to represent the U. “Having the Winter Olympics here, the situation here in Russia, has opened up dialogue,” King said to The Mc Clatchy Foreign Staff.
Today the world's leading women compete in 33 countries for more than 0m in prize money.
Maria Sharapova is the world's best-paid female athlete, with annual earnings estimated at m (about £18.5m), while Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka last year became the first women to pocket more than m (£4.5m) in prize money in a season.
The 72-year-old trailblazer has created a legacy of advocacy for women and the LGBT community that’s earned her recognition as one of “When I was 12 and I had that epiphany, basically, what it came down to, I was going to spend the rest of my life fighting for equal rights and equal opportunities for boys and girls, men and women,” King said to in 2013.
Prior to the games, Russia enacted strict laws against “homosexual propaganda” which essentially put tight restrictions on any demonstrations of gay pride and stirred up an overall culture of fear and hatred toward the Russia LGBT community.
Gay athletes were put in a challenging situation: Should they boycott the games or should they attend and make a political statement, which could possibly endanger their freedom?
“Keep talking, Bobby, the more nonsense you spout the worse it’s going be when you lose,” King fires back.
The internationally-televised 1973 match featured a winner-take-all 0,000 prize and reportedly drew an audience of 50 million people in the United States alone.