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Women's Sports Foundation Hosted The Billies, Recognizing Media Excellence in Women's Sports and Physical Activity
Date:4/16/2008

Event Celebrates 35th Anniversary of Battle of the Sexes Match Between

Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs and Raised Over $1 million

LOS ANGELES, April 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The Billies, hosted by the Women's Sports Foundation, was held last night at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The Billies, named for tennis great and Women's Sports Foundation founder, Billie Jean King, recognizes media excellence in women's sports and physical activity while simultaneously raising funds for the Foundation. This year's event that raised more than $1 million for the Women's Sports Foundation was attended by sports and entertainment industry influentials alike and ended with a special performance by Sir Elton John. ESPN was a contributing sponsor for the event.

The Billies also celebrated the 35th Anniversary of The Battle of the Sexes, a nationally televised tennis match played in 1973 between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. Lornie Kuhle, Riggs' coach, and tennis great Rosie Casals, both key figures responsible for promoting the match, were on hand to help commemorate this history-making event. Rosie Casals told the audience, "Once I looked into Billie Jean's baby blues that day, I knew she was going to beat him." Billie did, in fact, win the match, paving the way for female athletes to become equal to men in the eyes of the media.

The Billies' winners were selected by a panel of women's sports historians, journalists and media industry executives and were awarded and recognized in four categories: "Breakthrough & Innovation", "Entertainment", "Journalism", and "Outstanding Journalist". The winners in each category are as follows:

1. Breakthrough and Innovation

-- "Boom Boom Tap" -- Under Armour -- Advertising Campaign -- Under

Armour's first ad campaign developed for female team athletes

2. Entertainment

-- "Chak! De India" -- Yash Raj Films, Produced by Aditya Chopra -- A

film depicting a group of girls who forgot what it was like to

play simply for the love of field hockey

3. Journalism

-- "Marathon Woman: Running the Race to Revolutionize Women's Sports"

-- Carol & Graf Publishers, Kathrine Switzer -- The story of

Kathrine Switzer, who helped introduce women's marathon into the

Olympic Games

4. Outstanding Journalist

-- Sports Broadcast Journalist Lesley Visser -- for her extraordinary

career as a sportscaster, spanning more than 30 years.

Among the attendees celebrating the nominees' insightful depictions of women's sports at last night's Billie Awards were Event Co-Chair Kathy Smith, Sharon Osbourne, Aisha Tyler, Master P., Drew Lachey, Keke Palmer, Doug Savant, Aimee Mullins (Track & Field), Diana Nyad (Swimmer), Greta Eliassen (Skiing), Julie Foudy (Soccer), Lyn St. James (Auto Racing), Mary Osbourne (Surfer), Michelle Kwan (Figure Skating), Rosie Casals (Tennis Player), Sarah Burke (Snowboarding), Tony Gonzalez (Football) and Tracy Austin (Tennis).

Sir Elton John, who is a long-time friend of Billie Jean King, added excitement to the evening by performing for the guests. His performance included a heartfelt rendition of "Philadelphia Freedom", a song he wrote for Billie Jean in 1974. In closing, Sir Elton John saluted the female athletes "who always put themselves on the line and rarely get the credit or recognition they deserve." He added, "Hey ladies, just know, I am on your side."

The Foundation also announced at last night's Billie Awards that the Women's Sports Foundation will be opening the Billie Jean King International Women's Sports Center inside the Sports Museum of America in May of 2008. When open, the center will be the first gallery in the United States dedicated to women's sports.

About the Women's Sports Foundation

The Women's Sports Foundation's work builds on Billie Jean King's legacy as a champion athlete, advocate of social justice, and agent of change. Recognized worldwide for its leadership, expertise, and influence, the Women's Sports Foundation, advocates for equality, educates the public, conducts research, and offers grants. The organization shapes public attitude about women's sports and athletes, provides equal opportunities for girls and women, and supports healthy lifestyles. For more information, please visit http://www.WomensSportsFoundation.org or http://www.thebillieawards.com .

About ESPN

ESPN, the year-round leader in women's sports television coverage, features a wide variety of events and sports, including women's basketball, soccer, golf, tennis, figure skating, softball, action sports and much more. ESPN, Inc., is the world's leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company featuring a portfolio of over 40 multimedia sports assets. The company is comprised of seven domestic television networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes (to be launched around the new year), ESPN Now, ESPN Today), ESPN HD (a high-definition simulcast service of ESPN), ESPN Regional Television, ESPN International (networks and syndication), ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, SportsTicker, ESPN Enterprises, ESPN Zones (8 sports-themed restaurants), and other growing new businesses including ESPN Broadband, ESPN Wireless, ESPN Video-on-Demand, ESPN Interactive and ESPN PPV. Based in Bristol, Ct., ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.

Contact: Christina Lee/Ivy Mollenkamp Jaime McBeth

ROGERS & COWAN WOMEN'S SPORTS FOUNDATION

(310) 854-8100 (516) 542-4700 x112


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SOURCE Women's Sports Foundation
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