Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) today joined with 17 of his House colleagues to introduce the Billie Jean King Gold Medal Act to award King the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of her extensive accomplishments and contributions to athletics, women’s equality, the LGBT community, and American culture.
“Billie Jean King, through her passion, her leadership, and her vision, redefined the role of women in both sports and American culture,” Congressman Lowenthal said. “The word icon is simply not enough to describe the tremendous impact she has had on not only tennis and the United States, but on the entire world. She is a pioneer in athletics, a trailblazer in the fight for equality, a role model for women and the LGBT community, and an inspiration to every American. She has not only earned this honor–she deserves it for the ground she has broken and the paths that she has set.”
A native of Long Beach, CA, King won 39 major singles, doubles, and mixed-doubles tennis championships during her more than 30-year tennis career, including a record 20 at Wimbledon. She is also the founder of the Women’s Tennis Association and the non-profit Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative. The U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) National Tennis Center in Flushing, NY, home of the U.S. Open Grand Slam tennis tournament, is named in her honor, as is the Billie Jean King Tennis Center in Long Beach. Last year, the new main library in downtown Long Beach was also named in honor of King.