25 of the Most Influential Women in Sports

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25 of the Most Influential Women in Sports
Graham Denholm/Getty Images
Serena Williams

Though women who have the talent and ambition to be leaders and make a difference still face challenges that simply do not apply to their male counterparts, we experience the kind of access to new opportunities those from past generations never could have imagined.

Higher education is no longer just a formality before getting married and starting a family, or a narrow path that leads to a career as a nurse or school teacher. Most people don't define women by specific roles they're expected to fulfill, unless it's one of their own choosing.

Today, the "glass ceiling" is very real, but it is more often a product of an unenlightened power broker or an organization's flawed culture than an orchestrated environment. And there are few industries in which women have made less headway than sports.

That being said, there are exceptions to every rule. The fact that sports are still such a male-dominated world makes highlighting the influential women in the industry all the more worthwhile. 

Those featured on this list are just a sampling of the women making waves throughout the industry, chosen deliberately to reflect a broad range of athletes, coaches, media and executives, presented in no particular order. 

Here are 25 of the most influential women who are active in sports today. 

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