From tennis to wrestling, Black athletes have continued to break barriers and make massive strides both on and off the court. This month, we’re highlighting influential figures who have changed the game.
Nineteen-year-old Coco Gauff is a tennis prodigy who has taken the sports world by storm with her extraordinary talent and enthusiasm. Gauff turned pro at 14 years old displaying exceptional skills on the court drawing comparisons to tennis legends.
And for good reason! A year after going pro, she made headlines after defeating Venus Williams in a stunning upset at Wimbledon and has been on an upward trajectory since. Gauff holds 8 titles, most recently winning championship titles from the 2023 Cincinnati Open and the 2023 U.S. Open. Since then, Coco has continued to showcase her remarkable prowess, demonstrating a blend of power, agility, and a mature understanding of the game. Off the court, she exudes a refreshing charm and humility, making her a beloved figure within and beyond the tennis community.
Recently, Gauff made it to the semifinals of the Australian Open in January of this year. While she did not secure a title, Gauff did move into the No. 3 ranking on the WTA Tour.
Did You Know? When asked how she prepared for the 2023 U.S. Open Tennis finals, Gauff replied, “I watched 4 or 5 episodes of My Hero Academia before I played.”
Jade Cargill, a force to be reckoned with in the world of professional wrestling, has captivated audiences with her unparalleled athleticism, charisma, and undeniable presence. As a powerhouse in WWE, Cargill has become synonymous with power, agility, and a fearless attitude inside the ring. Her journey to stardom began with a background in basketball, where she showcased her exceptional athleticism before transitioning seamlessly into the world of professional wrestling, first in All Elite Wrestling (AEW) in 2020, and later the WWE (since 2023).
Notable for her towering stature and commanding demeanor, Jade quickly rose through the ranks, capturing the hearts of fans and earning critical acclaim for her impressive performances. With 50 straight matches won during her time with the AEW and her latest win against Nia Jax at the 2024 Royal Rumble, she has not only become a dominant force in WWE but has redefined the standards of excellence in women's wrestling.
Cargill's impact on the industry extends beyond her in-ring prowess; she has emerged as an empowering figure for aspiring athletes, breaking barriers and inspiring a new generation of talent. As she continues to rise, Jade Cargill undoubtedly stands as a symbol of resilience, strength, and innovation in the world of professional wrestling.
Did You Know? Cargill has a history of incorporating some of her favorite animated characters into her costumes. Of course as Jade from Mortal Kombat, and most recently, she has paid homage to Miruko (My Hero Academia), She-Hulk, Cheetara (Thundercats), and several more.
Israel Adesanya, born on July 22, 1989, in Lagos, Nigeria, is a renowned mixed martial artist who has left an indelible mark on the world of combat sports. Known as "The Last Stylebender," Adesanya has displayed unparalleled skill and finesse in the Octagon, captivating fans with his striking prowess and tactical brilliance. With an impressive kickboxing background, he transitioned seamlessly to MMA, becoming the UFC Middleweight Champion in 2019.
Adesanya's list of accolades includes an undefeated streak in kickboxing, multiple UFC "Fight of the Night" and "Performance of the Night" award bonuses, and a spot in the top pound-for-pound rankings.
Beyond his athletic achievements, Adesanya is a passionate anime enthusiast, showcasing his love for the art form with his distinctive walkout routines and animated celebrations. His unique blend of charisma, skill, and cultural influences has elevated him to the top of the MMA world and endeared him to fans globally, making Israel Adesanya a true trailblazer and icon in the industry.
Did You Know? In a GQ Interview this January, Adesanya ranked his top 5 anime: Spriggan, Jujutsu Kaisen, Death Note, Naruto, and Avatar the Last Airbender (We know, we know. This last one isn’t technically an anime).
Find out which Trailblazers we featured in the Tech Industry