Connect with us

News

IDOL: 7 Incredible Young Black Sportswomen Serena Williams Shows There’s No Ceiling”

Published

on

Serena Williams and the athletes

On her journey towards becoming one of the greatest athletes the world has ever seen, Serena Williams helped to show a new generation of young Black sportswomen exactly what was possible. Here, seven impressive young athletes tell Miss Vogue how November’s cover star impacted their own sporting aspirations – and their self-belief.

 

 

Dina Asher-Smith
London-born Dina Asher-Smith, 24, is the fastest woman in British history. The Olympian is currently the world champion in the 200m sprint, and European champion in both 200m and 100m.

“Serena showed us how to carve your own narrative in a space that is ready to cast you as something you’re not. It was so inspiring. She showed us what we could be and what was possible as long as we worked hard, stayed focused and got the job done. I remember cheering for her and wanting to be just like Serena… you can imagine my dismay when I realised I have zero hand-eye coordination and I was, therefore, useless with a racket. Thankfully I could run!

Dina Asher-Smith

“Serena has shown us, and specifically shown Black sportswomen, that there is no ceiling. Sure — we will have to work incredibly hard, be excellent at what we do and it’s not going to be easy, but anything is possible. I think she’s both shown us and actually given us that, as she has pushed, lead the way and been the ‘first’ in so many spaces. She’s opened doors, set precedents and created pathways for so many of us. We are so grateful.”

Ramla Ali
Boxer Ali, 31, won the British and English titles in 2016, and is expected to make her professional debut this month. She was also selected by the Duchess of Sussex to grace the September 2019 cover of British Vogue.

“For me, Serena was not just a great athlete growing up but a Black woman who was breaking stereotypes and changing the mould of representation in so many fields. It’s that kind of portrayal that kept me inspired and kept me believing that I could one day have a career in sport. I, like so many others, owe a huge debt of gratitude to the queens that paved the way, and Serena is the very best of them.

Ramla Ali

“I think the reason she has inspired so many young women, even in different sports, is due to her determination to be represented, not just as an athlete but as a strong, powerful woman who has refused to be painted in any vein that is not authentic to her. This may sound weird, and I know she’s so much more than this, but in her early days when I would see her on the court arguing with the umpire for what was right and fair, those were affirmations that it was okay to stand up for what I believed in and refuse to be bullied in my sport, especially as a Black woman when I was thinking that I should just keep my mouth shut. I’ve been in similar situations where I have been mistreated by a referee, and my first thought in the ring in that very moment is: Serena Williams. Thinking of that image gave me the courage to speak up and stand strong. You wouldn’t believe what a profound impact something as little as that had on my life.”

Morgan Lake
Buckinghamshire-born Lake is a track and field athlete who at 23 already has major accolades under her belt. Morgan has been the World Junior Champion in the heptathlon, and recently became the high jump British champion for the fifth year in a row at the British Athletics Championships.

Morgan Lake Eugene

“Serena was someone I saw who looked like me, which didn’t happen often in other spaces, like in the cinema or in fashion imagery. It was hugely important to me growing up, as I was able to see that being an athlete was a reputable career choice. Serena has always seemed like a woman who is authentically herself and isn’t afraid of her critics. Her resilience and self-confidence are things I think young women aspire to have both in sport and in their day-to-day life. The first time I watched her movie Serena I was on the plane to the Olympics in Rio, where she was also competing. It’s all I thought about the whole flight. She’s inspirational, relentless, gracious, witty and powerful.”

Imani-Lara Lansiquot
As well as graduating from Kings College this year, sprinter Lansiquot, 22, also became British champion in the 100 metres at the British Athletics Championships in September.

“Growing up as a young Black girl in South London, certain levels of success sometimes felt so far removed from my reality. She made that feel tangible for me. There was something so all-encompassing about her self-belief that went beyond the court, that made every young Black girl think, ‘I can do something great, too.’

Imani-Lara Lansiquot

“There is something very powerful about being one of the greatest to ever do something. Serena’s ability to achieve this, irrespective of her race or gender, is a reminder that absolutely anything is possible. You watch her play in a one-of-a-kind outfit, or big bold earrings, all whilst absolutely dominating the court, and it just epitomises that powerful and confident alter-ego that so many young women are tentative about unleashing. Beyond tennis, we have also seen her flourish as a mother, a businesswoman and as a fashion icon on and off the court, which proves that we do not have to reduce ourselves to just one thing. It has inspired me to want to make my mark in the world.”

Asha Philip
You’ll recognise 29-year-old East London athlete Philip from her Olympic-medal winning turn as part of the GB relay team at the Rio Games in 2016. She also became the first British woman of any age to win a global title in the 100 metres at the World Youth Championships, aged 16.

Asha Philip

“Growing up I was a massive fan of Serena and when I first saw her, I actually wanted to be her. I used to get really mad at my mum because I was doing hundreds of other sports, but we never really played tennis, but because Serena did it I wanted to do it so badly. She was one of the only Black females I would see on TV and feel like, ‘Oh, I want to be like her when I grow up.’ Serena and Venus were just so iconic that I think it inspired people to not just pursue sport to a high level, but to really excel in whatever they were passionate about.

“She inspires you to be a better sportswoman when you see she’s had to face her sister. I’m a younger sister, and of course you have sibling rivalries. For these two sisters, the stakes have been so high throughout the years! Serena is so focused on winning, even against her own family, but at the same time is gracious and humble in victory.”

Alice Dearing
Open-water swimmer Dearing has won world and European titles. The 23-year-old is the lead ambassador for the Black Swimming Association and hopes to become the first Black woman to represent Britain in a swimming category at the Olympics.

Alice Dearing

“I remember first seeing Serena Williams make a cameo on the TV show My Wife and Kids when I was about 10. I asked my mum if she was the Serena Williams, and I was so excited to think that Black sportswomen were at the level to be featuring in TV shows as big as My Wife and Kids. Whilst this cameo was a byproduct of her success on the court, it really opened my eyes to the power Black sportswomen can hold, and the fact the sporting arena is not solely dominated by the big male names. Women can hold their own, and there is space for this to happen. Serena’s influence extends beyond sport. She displays how multi-dimensional Black sportswomen can be, and that they shouldn’t be underestimated. She has inspired me in the way she holds herself, and with her drive to be the best person she can be, on and off the court.”

Karé Adenegan
Now 19, Paralympian Adenegan took home an impressive three medals at the 2016 Rio games. In 2018, aged just 17, she broke the world women’s 100 metres record. She took home her first gold at the Para World European Athletics Championships in the same year. Oh, and she’s reading history and philosophy at Warwick.

Karé Adenegan

“I really believe that visibility encourages us to pursue our dreams. Seeing Serena Williams dominate in her field made me believe that as a Black female athlete I could also compete at the highest level. Serena is clearly a hard worker — it is evident in her sport, but also through her businesses and other exploits outside of tennis. She encourages her competitors, and never lets anything get in her way. Serena’s character is admirable. Her victory at Wimbledon in 2016 was particularly inspiring for me. She showed so much strength and determination.”







Serena Williams and husband walk
News1 week ago

Serena Williams: ‘I never thought I would have married a white guy’

Serena Williams confirms
News5 days ago

Serena Williams opens up about her pregnancy

Tennis Star Serena Williams
News6 days ago

Serena Williams inspires women to embrace their body curves — Serena Williams baths outside with her friend

serena williams in white gown
News1 week ago

WATCH: Serena Williams Looks Smoking Hot In Formfitting White Ensemble

Serena Williams beauty
News4 days ago

Serena Williams’ Friends’ Booty Are No Competition — Serena Williams baths outside with her friends

Again, Andy Murray Talks Health Battle: "I Was In Pain For Six, Seven Years... I Was Told That..
News4 days ago

Andy Murray Finally Issues Official Statement On His Retirement

Serena Williams tennis legendary star
News4 days ago

Serena Williams officially confirms pregnancy — Serena Williams opens up about her pregnancy

Serena Williams legend
Tennis1 week ago

Serena Williams Spotted in Cheetah Bikini on Miami Beach — Serena Williams accentuates her bounteous booty

Serena Williams queen of racket
News3 days ago

Video: NOT AGAIN The Day Serena Williams Goes Topless At the Beach

Serena Williams Bikini
News3 days ago

PHOTOS: Serena Williams Flaunts Her Curvy Buttocks & Impressive Physique In New Snaps

Cute Olympia Ohanian
News4 days ago

WATCH: Serena Williams’ Daughter Olympia Steals Hearts with Her Beautiful Big Eyes in a Floral Outfit

Iga Swiatek and Serena Williams
News2 weeks ago

Iga Swiatek Surpasses an Impressive Serena Williams Record After Winning French Open 2020

Serena Williams Bahamas
News1 day ago

PHOTOS: Serena Williams enjoys her family holiday with Venus Wlliams

Serena Williams interview
News6 days ago

Serena Williams & Her Ex-Boyfriend reunite for a Great Reason — SEE photos Serena Williams Ex-Boyfriend

Serena Williams legend
News5 days ago

WATCH: Serena Williams Taking Her bath After Prolonged Training — See Serena’s PICTURES while bathing