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9 #PlayLikeAGirl Moments We'll Never Forget

9 #PlayLikeAGirl Moments We'll Never Forget

No longer an insult, "play like a girl" elicits the excitement, power and energy of the fiercest, sharpest competitors in the sports biz. And as the theme of SELF's July issue, the term brings to mind the Mo'nes, Brandis and Kerrys of the world who have pushed themselves to the limits and proven that determination and hard work pay off. Here, the game-changing moments in women's sports that have redefined what it means like to #playlikeagirl.

1. Pitch Perfect

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Pitcher Mo’ne Davis has racked up a series of impressive firsts for a 14-year-old. In 2014, she was the first African American girl to play Little League and pitched the first shutout in the org’s history. With a wish for WNBA stardom, we expect to see Mo’ne at the top of this list again.

2. Losing Her Shirt

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For anyone around in 1999, it’s hard not to remember Brandi Chastain’s pure joy + powerful abs combo as she ripped off her jersey after one hell of a left-footed penalty kick that won the FIFA World Cup for the U.S.

3. Battle of the Sexes

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Bobby Riggs was a tennis legend, but his sexist views on women’s tennis, i.e., it was an inferior game to men’s, led to a legendary match against then-26-year-old Billie Jean King in 1973. King swiftly sent the 55-year-old to a pretty humiliating defeat, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.

4. Indy-Pendent Woman

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Indy car racing isn't the most female-centric sport, but that all started to change when Danica Patrick took the win in the 2008 Indy Japan 300, taking the lead with just two laps to go.

5. Riding High

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In 1993, Julie Krone became the first female jockey to win a triple crown race, taking first at Belmont Stakes. Krone still wears this crown: Thoroughbred racing's all-time leading jockey.

6. Fast Track to Greatness 

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Jackie Joyner Kersee mastered not one sport, but seven. The heptathlon champ set the world record almost 20 years ago and no one's been able to top her times, distances, and lengths since.

7. Power Bar

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U.S. gymnast Mary Lou Retton scored two perfect 10s on the vault in the 1984 Olympics, and then went on to secure all-around gold with her floor and bar events. Now if that doesn’t get you on a box of Wheaties, what should?

8. Courting Victory

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The 1996 Olympic Women’s Basketball team was unstoppable, destroying everyone in their path. The excitement was so contagious that it’s believed that the WNBA got its start as a direct result of the buzz the Olympic team created. Go team!

9. Carry On

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Risking a career-ending ankle injury, Olympic gymnast Kerri Strug sucked up the pain and helped catapult her team to the all-around gold at the 1996 Olympic games. Despite hurting her ankle on her first vault, Strug nailed her second with a score high enough to guarantee the gold medal. In a unforgettable moment, coach Bela Karolyi carried Strug to the podium to claim her prize.

More From SELF:
The Behind-the-Scenes World Cup Moments You Definitely Don't Want to Miss
Check Out the Most Badass Woman on Water
There Are Major Girl-Power Vibes at the FIFA Women's World Cup 
Strong, Powerful and Inspiring: Girls Owning Their #GameFaces

Photo Credit: Gene J. Puskar/AP; ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images; AP Photo; Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images; Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images; Andy Lyons /Allsport; AP Photo; AP Photo; IOP/AFP/Getty Images