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Review of Jennifer H. Lansbury’s A Spectacular Leap: Black Women Athletes in Twentieth-Century America

Some sports history for Throwback Thursday

Sport in American History

University of Arkansas Press, 2014. University of Arkansas Press, 2014.

The “ghetto Cinderellas” of tennis, Serena and Venus Williams, were to face one another in the semifinals of the 2001 Masters Tournament in Indian Wells, California.[1] Yet, mere minutes before the match start-time, Venus suddenly pulled out. According to officials, the last minute decision stemmed from knee problems. The abruptness and unexpectedness of both her injury and scratch bolstered suspicions that the Williams sisters’ father and coach, Richard Williams, predetermined his daughters’ victories.

Serena remembered the day differently. She recalled that her older sister suffered from longstanding tendonitis and had requested to forgo the match long before its designated start time. Tournament organizers, hoping to keep the crowds happy, refused her appeal until the match was set to start. They hoped that the façade of a hasty departure would allow the spectators to blame the Williams family for the cancelation. It worked

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2 thoughts on “Review of Jennifer H. Lansbury’s A Spectacular Leap: Black Women Athletes in Twentieth-Century America

  1. Seems like the biography so far as reviewed in the link, doesn’t give enough about Venus and Serena in the book…which would make great reading if ever written in the future!

    These 2 ladies probably have a great life story to tell ..without their father’s intervention.

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