Black Gymnasts in History: Jackie Court, Pioneer for Women in Sports


Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 6.15.22 PMWhen I was President of the Women’s Sports Foundation in the mid-90s, fighting for Title 9 was at the center of our movement. Title IX is a law passed in 1972 requiring gender equity for boys and girls in every educational program that receives federal funding. Settled after 7 years in 1996, Cohen vs. Brown University was a landmark case that set the stage for female athletes to have equal access to sports, college scholarships and so much more. Amy Cohen was a gymnast at Brown and who was her coach? Jackie Court!

All gymnasts know how influential a great coach is – but what Jackie Court represents is the incredible impact that access to sports for girls has for everyone.  Jackie was the voice in the early development of women’s gymnastics in Rhode Island.  She organized the first tri competitive high school meet and USAG State Meet.  Jackie was Rhode Island’s first state chairperson and held the position for 18 years. Jackie Court was the first minority coach hired at Brown University, developed the competitive gymnastics program and coached for 33 years before retiring. She has always been an active supporter of equality for women in sports. She was recognized by the NCAA Gymnastics Association for her support and actions that improved the betterment of college sports for women through Title 9.

Jackie continues to judge and her son John Court is the Assistant Women’s Gymnastics Coach at the University of Arizona.

Thank you Jackie Court! Today, on National Girls and Women in Sports Day, we are so proud to feature you in our Black Gymnasts in History project.



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