Title IX 40 for 40: Katie Kellner
Katie Kellner, a rising senior with the Cornell
track and field team, was consistent in her success during the
2011-12 season. She placed fourth at the Ivy League cross country
championships to earn first-team All-Ivy honors. In the Ivy League
Heptagonal Indoor Championships, she finished in fifth-place in the
3,000m and seventh in the 5,000m, and in the Ivy League Outdoor
Championships, she won the 10,000m by 26 seconds to receive
first-team All-Ivy accolades and placed second in the 5,000m to
earn second-team All-Ivy honors.
What impact has Title IX had on you/college athletics?
Kellner: Despite the fact that Title IX was enacted 20 years before I was born, the impact it has had on my life is incredible. Title IX changed the perception that people had on women in sports, causing more parents to involve their children in athletics at a young age. My mom introduced me to distance running when I was in middle school, and if she had still perceived that girls did not belong on sports teams, this would never had happened. My involvement in cross country and track at a young age was not only fun, but it gave me confidence, helped me overcome my shyness, and taught me valuable lessons about hard work and dedication. As I got older, my success as an athlete helped me get into Cornell University. Therefore, Title IX has not only changed me as an athlete, but also as a student and as a person.
What opportunities for women did Title IX help create?
Kellner: Title IX helped create the opportunity for women interested in athletics to achieve their dreams. Running is one of the most important aspects of my life and I strive every day to make myself a better runner so I can be successful at higher levels of competition. Had I not been provided with the support of my family, my coach, and the university, I would never be able to achieve these dreams. When I began running, my parents became interested in the sport and began running recreationally. My mom, who had never run before, realized that she was quite talented for her age. Looking back, she wishes she had been given the opportunity to try running earlier, but the thought never even crossed her mind because she had no one to influence her to do so. For this reason, I am extremely thankful for Title IX and all of the people that have encouraged me and given me opportunities as an athlete.
What is the biggest challenge to women in sports?
Kellner: Title IX has had a tremendous positive impact on women in collegiate sports, as it allows equal funding for both genders. However, it is still more difficult for women to proceed to the next level, professional athletics. In most sports, males are more frequently televised allowing their pay as a professional athlete to be much greater. Therefore, it is easier for men to make their sport into a profession than it is for women.
Who is someone you view as a pioneer in women's athletics and why?
Kellner: I view Katherine Switzer, the first women to ever run in the Boston Marathon, as a pioneer in women’s athletics because as a distance runner I hope to one day run competitively in marathons. When Katherine Switzer was 20 years old, she entered the 1967 Boston Marathon. The entry form did not contain a spot to indicate one’s gender because it was assumed that only male runners would enter. On the day of the race, Switzer remained unnoticed until about the third mile when a Boston Athletic Association official ran up to her, attempted to rip off her race number, and screamed to her to get out of the race. Switzer’s boyfriend, who was running with her, pushed the official off of her and she was able to finish the marathon despite be quite shaken up. The Boston Athletic Association did not give her an official time, but began allowing women to official enter the race in 1972. Katherine Switzer’s bravery introduced women into the sport of marathoning, which I hope to one day be a part of.