OnlyOnAOL: Abby Wambach and Billie Jean King discuss equality in sports at Glamour Women of the Year Awards

Seth Meyers Presents Glamour's WOTY Awards to U.S. National Soccer Team
Seth Meyers Presents Glamour's WOTY Awards to U.S. National Soccer Team


BY: GIBSON JOHNS

Being honored with the rest of her teammates on the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards was the cherry on top of an incredible year for Abby Wambach. Though Wambach, who was a forward for the team that won the Women's World Cup this past summer, has enjoyed the attention she's gotten from the win, the significance of her team's accomplishment is much bigger than herself or her teammates.

"We didn't win just the World Cup," she explained exclusively to AOL on the red carpet. "We also won over our nation and started to really continue that conversation about equal opportunity for women."

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Wambach, of course, is alluding to the fact that she and her teammates were grossly underpaid for their win in comparison to their male counterparts. Billie Jean King, famed tennis legend and advocate for gay rights and women's rights, echoed those sentiments.

"It's great that we had the soccer team win. Abby Wambach is great, and I'm glad that she and the team have gotten acknowledged. But we still have so far to go."

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King continued, "I don't think people think about it -- it's fun for people being entertained and to watch them, but if you look at the politics, women have so far to go in terms of opportunities. We get 2% of SportsCenter, we get very little of the sports page. They predominantly talk about our looks still; though that's getting better, they're starting to talk more about our accomplishments. That's a good start."



That stat -- that female athletes get just 2% of the total airtime on ESPN's SportsCenter is astounding. Especially considering, as Wambach pointed out, that the World Cup final "game was the highest rated game in the history in the U.S." Furthermore, if the American public is loving women's soccer so much, shouldn't the players be able to make a true living off of it?

"[This is] why we want to talk about equal pay and equal opportunity, because we saw the effects of corporate sponsorship getting involved," Wambach explained. "It's not just about a once in every four years event; we want to transition it into being a consistent and impactful thing."

King agrees. For her, the huge success of the team at the World Cup raises expectations for the future.

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"I hope the National Women's Soccer League does well. That's what I really care about -- that's how people make a living. You can't make a living once every four years."

Though Wambach is in the same boat, she's still getting used to this new, crossover success she's experienced since the big win. Between being on Taylor Swfit's 1989 World Tour stage and being asked to present Caitlyn Jenner with the Arthur Ashe Award, she's now part of "a whole new world."

"It seems a bit as if life as I know it is a little bit different, but you've got to just roll with it," she explained to us. "For me, this is the start of something really special. and you can't just sit idly by and hope something happens. We created this, and we just have to keep pushing forward."

More photos of Abby Wambach:



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