Premieres Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV / PBS App
In June 1972, the passage of Title IX, a small 37-word provision in the 1972 Education Amendments, guaranteed all people – regardless of gender – equal access to federally funded programs. This historic bill opened the floodgates for young girls to participate in sanctioned sports activities nationwide. Through the eyes of eight influential female athletes, learn how Title IX and their own achievements forever changed the course of sports history in a new two-hour documentary “Groundbreakers.”
Hosted by sports icon and equality champion Billie Jean King, the film weaves together the firsthand stories of eight sports legends as they discuss how their own struggles and achievements shaped their sport. The interviews pair an athlete at the top of her game today with an athlete whose achievements helped pave the way for those who followed.
The pairings include Billie Jean King and flag football star Diana Flores; basketball legend Nancy Lieberman and Olympic gold snowboarder Chloe Kim; soccer star and World Cup winner Julie Foudy and Olympic gold gymnast Suni Lee; and track and field world-record holder Jackie Joyner-Kersee with four-time tennis Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka.
Tackling issues such as equitable pay and treatment, sexist policies and mental health, these far-reaching and dynamic conversations showcase the perseverance, pain, and progress of women who dared to challenge the system and defy conventional norms.
“Groundbreakers” celebrates the advancements of women in sports and society, while also revealing the generational mentorship and community building that has fueled the progress made alongside the ongoing pursuit of equality for women everywhere.
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The film will be available to stream with the PBS App. Watch the best of PBS anytime, anywhere on the free PBS App. Stream your favorite PBS shows on-demand and livestream shows from your local station, all from your favorite device.
In addition to the documentary, supplementary digital content, including director’s cuts of interview segments alongside additional highlights of iconic women in sports, will be posted on the PBS YouTube channel in November. See history making footage of Serena Williams’ 2003 Grand Slam, Florence Griffith Joyner’s world records in track-and-field, Simone Biles’ inspiring gymnastics legacy, and the memorable Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova tennis rivalry.
A production of Six West Media, an A+E Factual Studios brand, in association with The WNET Group. Billie Jean King is executive producer. Patty Ivins Specht is executive producer. Steve Ascher, Jessica Conway, Stephen Mintz and Kristy Sabat are executive producers for Six West Media. Zara Frankel is executive in charge for PBS. For The WNET Group: Benjamin Phelps is supervising producer; Lesley Norman is executive producer; Stephen Segaller is executive in charge.