Olympic Medalist Hogshead-Makar launches Champion Women Non-Profit

A new chapter for championing girls and women in sports begins today with Champion Women, a non-profit organization founded by its CEO, Nancy Hogshead-Makar, a civil rights attorney, prolific scholar and speaker and Olympic champion. Hogshead-Makar is well-known for her passionate and effective advocacy, including strategic collaborative projects with individuals and organizations. Champion Women is committed to using sport to improve the lives of girls and women, bringing together nationally known and committed experts to its board and working committees.

According to Hogshead-Maker:

“Our most powerful and influential athletic institutions are falling short in addressing critical gender issues. Champion Women will engage its followers through its website at www.ChampionWomen.org, as well as other organizations to target equality, accountability and transparency throughout sports culture.”

In addition, Champion Women will amplify the voices of girls and women who may not be able to speak for themselves.” Examples of issues Champion Women will initially focus upon include:

  • Too many colleges and universities are out of compliance with the most basic Title IX athletics requirements, when local constituencies could be empowered to push for more women’s teams.
  • Too many colleges, universities and high schools fail to comply with the basic legal requirements after they are confronted with allegations that their athletes have committed sexual assault or engaged in sexual harassment, oftentimes creating a hostile environment for the student body.
  • Collegiate sports will be restructured in the coming years in response to the legal rulings in the Northwestern and O’Bannon cases, making advocacy for women’s sports all that more important.
  • Women’s coaches face unfair and discriminatory employment conditions in the world of collegiate athletics, receiving far less pay than their male counterparts, being locked out of the men’s coaching market (despite male coaches having coaching opportunities in women’s sports) and overseeing programs with disproportionate less facilities and scholarships than male sports programs.
  • The U.S. Olympic Committee is creating a separate non-government agency to investigate and sanction sexually abusive coaches, an effort that will fail if the agency does not have independence and for which strong advocacy for women will be necessary.
    • Hogshead-Makar’s efforts have already led to substantial changes in the Olympic movement, including new U.S. Olympic Committee rules for National Governing Bodies that prohibit romantic and sexual relationships between coaches and athletes.
  • The U.S. Olympic Committee is not bound by most civil rights laws in its relationship with athletes who are neither employees nor students. Over 3,000,000 athletes are under the Olympic umbrella under the Sports Act.

Nancy Hogshead-MakarAbout the CEO and founder: Hogshead-Makar is a life-long advocate for access and equality in all areas of athletics and throughout society. She is one of the nation’s foremost experts on gender equity in sports participation, sexual harassment and abuse, pregnancy discrimination, legal enforcement of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and contemporary legal issues within the Olympic Movement. She has successfully represented athletes in precedent-setting litigation, written amicus briefs in the highest courts, integrated research into frequent Congressional testimony, pushed for new state legislation, published numerous legal and professional articles, made hundreds of presentations and keynote speeches, overseen the creation of new policies and position statements and appeared frequently as a guest on national news programs. She practiced law at Holland & Knight LLP, taught torts and sports law courses as a tenured professor of law and has enjoyed a 30 year relationship with the Women’s Sports Foundation, most recently as the organization’s Senior Director of Advocacy. “Looking around the country at the leaders in women’s sports, particularly athletes, many have a relationship with the Women’s Sports Foundation. Some of my dearest friends are from working with the WSF, and I’m grateful to have received 30 years of numerous powerful opportunities to serve,” stated Hogshead-Makar.

She is a graduate of Duke University and Georgetown University Law Center. At the 1984 Olympics she capped eight years as a world-class athlete, where she was the most decorated swimmer at the 1984 Olympics; three gold medals and one silver medal.


Champion Women announces that its board and committee members include the following distinguished athletes and advocates: Judy Sweet, Donna de Varona, Richard Lapchick, Donna Lopiano, Chris Voelz, Christine Grant, Diane Milutinovich, Micki King, Erin Buzuvis and Terri Lakowski.

“I have had the honor of working with Nancy on several projects and committees and have always been impressed with, and grateful for, her passion, knowledge, work ethic, integrity and commitment to equity and justice.  Nancy helps heighten awareness of important issues, and then identifies strategies and solutions to address those issues.”
Judy Sweet, Alliance of Women Coaches, Board President, Former NCAA Senior Vice President

“Nancy Hogshead-Makar, founder of Champion Women, has been a tireless advocate for the promotion, protection and support of girls and women in sport. She has redirected the drive, hard work and passion she used to capture three Olympic swimming gold medals during the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics to this effort. All of us who have had the privilege of working with her know how important it is she continues to be able to apply her skills to the issues of the time free of conflicts of interest. It is my pleasure to join her as a founding member of Champion Women.”
Donna de Varona, First President and Chairman, Women’s Sports Foundation, Two-time Olympic gold medalist in swimming, President DAMAR Productions Inc.

“There has been a great need for a women’s sports organization whose sole focus is addressing unfairness, discrimination and lack of respect for women in a worldwide sport culture. Champion Women is such an organization and its pledge to pursue social justice as an independent expert force unfettered by the economic or political power of transgressors is critically important. Too many organizations refrain from strong advocacy voices because they fear loss of funding sources or the wrath of powerful players who may be subject to criticism. I’m confident that founder Nancy Hogshead-Makar, an Olympic gold medalist and highly respected sports attorney, along with the experts committed to working on the E&SA team, will always embrace the role of ‘responsible voice’ and a course of ‘right action.’” — Donna A. Lopiano, Ph.D., President, Sports Management Resources, Former CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation, 1992 – 2007, Awards from International Olympic Committee, National Collegiate Athletic Association, National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics

“America needs a women’s sports organization with the unique and sole focus of strong advocacy against the inequality of women and girls in sport. Nancy Hogshead-Makar’s Champion Women can be that organization. Nancy is one of my heroes and is a great leader. I am proud to be associated with Champion Women.”

Richard Lapchick, Chair of DeVos Sport Business Management Program, Director, Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, Director, National Consortium for Academics and Sports, Co-Founder, Hope for Stanley Alliance
“I’m very excited to join Nancy Hogshead-Makar as a pioneer in advocacy for girls and women. Nancy has assembled a great team! Under her leadership, I have no doubt, we and will make a difference in the desperately neglected sexual abuse problem faced by women athletes.”

Micki King, Olympic Champion, Diving, United States Air Force Colonel (Ret.) and Athlete’s Rights Advocate

“I have never met a more passionate advocate for gender equity in sports than Nancy Hogshead. Nor have I met an advocate more committed to the creation of an environment that is free of sexual harassment and abuse than Nancy Hogshead. Nancy is the consummate professional who, with her highly qualified team, will work with institutions to develop strategies to achieve true equity in sport. The creation of an organization with a laserbeam focus on equity for women in sport is long overdue and deserves the wholehearted support of all parents who believe in equity for all girls and women.”

Christine H.B. Grant, Ph.D. Former Women’s Athletic Director, The University of Iowa, Expert Witness in many Title IX lawsuits, President of the AIAW, President of the NACWAA, Selected as one of the 100 Most Influential Sports Educators in America, Inducted into the State of Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame, Winner of the Billie Jean King award from the WSF, and the President Gerald R. Ford Award from the NCAA.

“Nancy Hogshead-Makar is a passionate and accomplished advocate for girls and women in sport. Under her leadership, Champion Women will be influential and effective in the movement to overturn barriers to women’s athletic participation that derive from sexual violence and harassment, commercialization of college athletics, challenges to Title IX, intersecting discrimination on the basis of LGBT, race, disability, or class, and other sources.” — Erin Buzuvis, Professor of Law, Western New England University; Director, Center for Gender & Sexuality Studies, Co-Founder, Title IX Blog

Champion Women fills a critical and missing voice to ensure that all girls and women have true equality and meaningful access to sports opportunities. Nancy Hogshead-Makar is the perfect leader to drive this new organization—she is a relentless advocate, brilliant strategist, and committed changemaker on behalf of girls and women in sports.” — Terri Lakowski, CEO, Active Policy Solutions, former Public Policy Director for the Women’s Sports Foundation

“Nancy Hogshead-Makar has the same drive, intellect, work ethic, commitment and sense of competition as an advocate that she had as an Olympic swimmer. Add to that a law degree and an insatiable appetite for fairness and you get one extremely successful advocate. I have had the honor and pleasure of working side by side with Nancy as a colleague and the rare combination of passion, fearlessness and integrity is but one of her many strong skill sets. I am thrilled that Nancy will continue to make a difference in the lives of girls and women and honored to be working with Nancy through an important new vehicle for change, Champion Women.” — Chris Voelz, Executive Director of The Collegiate Women Sports Awards; Athletics  Director Emerita, University of Minnesota; Former President of NACWAA

“Nancy Hogshead-Makar is a strong advocate for equality and equitable treatment of girls and women in sports. She has used her experience and leadership skills improve the female athletes’ sports experience.” — Diane Milutinovich, Associate Athletic Director Emeriti, Fresno State

What Others Are Saying:

“No one is better suited to advocate for girls and women in sport than Nancy Hogshead-Makar. She is a breathtakingly effective leader—passionate, brilliant, articulate, and visionary, the ideal voice for these times of momentous change.”
Baine Kerr, J.D., Hutchinson, Black and Cook LLC, Title IX lawyer, specializing in sexual violence in higher education

“Nancy Hogshead-Makar is the thought leader and champion of equality for our 21st century women’s sports and athletes.”
— Tom McMillen, Former Congressman, Co-Chair President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, Olympic Basketball Team.

“Before my first national interview to reveal my experience of molestation by a powerful leader in my sport, I benefited from guidance, advice, and support from Nancy Hogshead-Makar. Currently victims, like myself, have no trustworthy, safe haven to report abuse. Champion Women will provide a catalyst for true change.”— Bridie Farell, Competitive Speedskater, sexual molestation survivor by Olympian Andy Gabel at age 15, while he was 33.

“Nancy Hogshead-Makar is not only a champion in the pool but even more so out of the pool. A friend and advocate for the athlete, I am so proud to call her teammate and friend. She is tenacious in her representation of the welfare of all athletes, leading the charge for fair and equal treatment of all athletes, no matter the cost. A trail blazer and voice for making sure athletes have a safe environment to pursue Olympic dreams. I am 110% behind her and her noble efforts. She is fearless in her advocacy for the athlete. She’s a true ‘Champion Woman’ in every sense of the word! Namaste.” — Greg Louganis, Olympic Diver. Montreal, 1976 Silver, 1980 Boycott Team Member, Los Angeles, 1984 Two Gold Medals, Seoul, 1988 Two Gold Medals

“Congratulations to Nancy Hogshead-Makar on this important work. And thank you for the focus and foresight to create this for women, sports and our society.” — Joni Comstock, Senior Vice President of Championships and Senior Woman Administrator, NCAA

“There is a powerful need for an organization like Champion Women and it’s difficult to imagine someone more equipped to take this laudable initiative and give it life, not to mention teeth, than Nancy Hogshead-Makar.” — Dave Zirin, Sports Editor, The Nation, Author, Game Over and Brazil’s Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, the Olympics, and the Fight for Democracy

“I have known Nancy for more than twenty years and have witnessed her activism resulting in shifts in behavior and culture. Champion Women will hold decision-makers accountable for creating safe, gender-inclusive spaces. Nancy is an articulate advocate and enjoys collaborating with others to achieve objectives. Any work Nancy is part of is worthy of philanthropic dollars and recognition.”
— Tuti Scott; President and Founder, Imagine Philanthropy, former Chief Development Officer and co-CEO for the Women’s Sports Foundation

“To have a leader of the caliber of Nancy Hogshead-Makar and the team she has assembled will definitely advance the needs of women in sport and; therefore, all women. The National Center for Lesbian Rights has had the privilege to work with her and we have been impressed with her knowledge of Title IX and the ways it protects LGBT people in sport. We are all excited concerning the potential of this new advocacy organization and how it will advance all of our work.”
Helen Carroll, Sports Project Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights

“I can’t think of a more astute and informed advocate on Title IX and advancing the role of women in sport than Nancy. She is my go-to resource when I have a question about the nuances of program equity. Nancy has enlivened and energized every one of our events in which she has participated, and we look forward to collaboration for years to come.”
Brett Sokolow, J.D., President & CEO, The NCHERM Group LLC, Executive Director, Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA)

“This is one of the most important issues in sports today. It is critical that we have an advocacy group who specializes in issues effecting women in sports. Nancy Hogshead-Makar is in the forefront of the research and advocacy for women’s sports and it is fortunate that she has decided to dedicate her life to this pertinent issue.”
Willie Banks, Former President, US Olympians Association, Board Member, USA Track and Field

“Sports are a critical platform for global advocacy. Internationally, we are looking forward to partnering with Champion Women to model the gains from Title IX in the United States to equip adolescent girls and young women to achieve their rights and become leaders globally.”
Maria Bobenrieth, Executive Director, WomenWin

“One of the things that has made Nancy Hogshead-Makar such a leader in the addressing the pressing need to protect women and girls from abuse in connection with their participation in sport, has been her uncanny ability to see beyond the immediate and anticipate what is needed next. Nancy has done just that again, with the formation of Champion Women. Nancy, from this new platform, and with the support of the incredible talent on the Board she has assembled, will bring a new and forceful emphasis to address the needs of women and girls in sport today.”
Ed Williams, J.D., Sports Act Attorney, Stewart Occhipinti, LLP, Olympic Biathlete, former Athletes’ Advisory Council Chair, USOC

“Nancy Hogshead-Makar has helped the NCAA gender equity initiatives project advance on several vital issues impacting women in intercollegiate athletics. She’s the primary author of the NCAA resource regarding fair treatment of pregnant and parenting student-athletes. Her leadership and experience are unique and will translate in this new venture to another chapter of advocacy on behalf of women in sport.”
Karen Morrison, J.D., Director of Gender Inclusion, NCAA; Advisor, Alliance of Women Coaches

“Nancy Hogshead-Makar is the only person that could have gathered sexual abuse victims, experts, other Olympic champions, and Hall of Fame coaches to support a well-researched petition to protest a sport’s highest officer’s failure to oust sexually abusing coaches as a justifiable reason to prevent his Hall of Fame induction. At the same time, her petition gave a voice to the many victims, and swayed the public, the swimming community, and the International Swimming Hall of Fame Committee for the need to more effectively address sexual abuse in sports.”
Robert Allard, J.D., Corsiglia, Mc Mahon and Allard, LLP and Jonathan Little, J.D., Saeed and Little Law LLP; Lawyers representing victims of swimming coach sexual abuse.

“Nancy Hogshead-Makar has been at the forefront of advocacy for women in sports at all levels throughout her career. The development and launch of Champion Women will reflect another valued and needed link in her legacy regarding this effort. Congratulations Nancy!”
Floyd Keith, CEO of Planned Positive Attitude Professional Services, Consultant NCAA Offices of Inclusion and Development, and former Executive Director, Black Coaches Association

“Nancy’s life experiences prepared her fully for her new role as a mind, body and spirit for women’s sports. Her style is infectious. Her beliefs and values are on the money. Her network is at the ready! And THIS is her destiny!”
Carol Mann, Hall of Fame Golfer, former President LPGA and Women’s Sports Foundation

Champion Women has the relationships, the expertise, the “horsepower,” and the passion to make a difference for girls and women in all areas of sports enabling athletics to bring important cultural and social equality values to their lives and others.”
Cathy Griffin, Sports and Entertainment Executive Recruiter and Career Coach

“Nancy Hogshead-Makar has always been a strong advocate for positive change for women in sport and Champion Women will continue her lifelong commitment to bringing the issues of discrimination and inequity to the forefront.”
W. Scott Lewis, J.D., Partner, The NCHERM Group, Partner, The National Center for Higher Education Risk Management, President & Co-founder, The National Behavioral Intervention Team Association, and Advisory Board & Co-Founder, ATIXA

“There is no individual better suited to lead an advocacy initiative for women’s sport than Nancy Hogshead-Makar. Nancy’s blend of personal and professional experience, intellect, commitment and tenacity in fighting for gender equity position her to create real change where it is needed most–in the lives of girls and women in sport. This visionary move will position and allow her to do what she does best!”
Nicole M. LaVoi, PhD. Associate Director, The Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport

“I cannot think of a more relevant and needed voice in the fight for equity in women’s sport. Nancy has long been a champion for Title IX and this remarkable team will shine bright light into the darkest corners of violence against women athletes.  There is a new standard being set for intolerance to gender violence and Nancy and her crew may well write it.” — John Clune, J.D., Hutchinson, Black and Cook LLC, Title IX Attorney, specializing in sexual violence

“Nancy Hogshead-Makar is the right person to lead this important new women’s sports advocacy organization.  She has assembled a stellar and experienced team of women’s sports advocates who can take the fight for a safe and equitable sport experience for all women in sport.” — Pat Griffin, Ph.D., LGBT sports advocate and professor emerita, University of Massachusetts Amherst

“As long as I’ve known or known about Nancy Hogshead-Makar, there has never been any quit, settle for less, or running from controversial issues. She is a fighter, and the best ally women in sports could have. There isn’t a doubt in my find that Champion Women will fight until what’s right is made right. This is a way for thousands more to join her.” — Wally Renfro, president of Renfro & Associates, former Vice-President and Chief Policy Advisor for the NCAA

“The work Nancy has done in her entire career to ensure both visibility of female athletes and access to sports for women is inspiring. With her at the helm, Champion Women has a powerful opportunity to ensure that no girl or woman ever again has to compromise her participation in sports, which is her legal, equal right. — Cyd Zeigler, Co-Founder, Outsports, and LGBT Sports Coalition

“In Nancy Hogshead-Makar, the United States finds one of its most genuine, sincere, and important voices for social justice on behalf of girls and women in sport. With this new venture, Champion Women, Nancy will have a platform to continue her work in realizing the full power of sport to promote the social good, confronting the mistreatment and abuse of girls and women in the sport system, and creating sport environments that are safe and supportive for girls and women.” — Ellen J. Staurowsky, Ed.D., Professor, Department of Sport Management, Drexel University

“The time is right for this type of organization and Nancy Hogshead-Makar is the ideal leader. We are on the brink of a new era of growth for women’s sports, but, as in the past, we will need to fight for these new opportunities to succeed.” — Kathy DeBoer, Executive Director, American Volleyball Coaches Association

Swimming News courtesy of Champion Women.

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7 years ago

Intersexuk are a UK based NGO (Non Profit) Representing the needs in equality for Intersex bodied people and a child’s right to equality. We support the need for intersex bodied athletes to receive equality in sports.

7 years ago

The reason Nancy Hogshead Makar has created a new ‘advocacy’ group is because she was quietly removed from her position as Dir of Advocacy with the Womens Sports Foundation after using the name of the WSF to increase the profile of the inaccurate and exaggerated petition to remove Chuck Wielgus from ISHOF indication. The WSF told her she’d ‘been loose with the truth’ and it couldn’t continue its association with someone who operated that way. Finally someone called Nancy on her brand of ‘advocacy’.

Discruntled Coach
7 years ago

I was at a college where the women’s volleyball team was given very little budget. I was a good ol’ boys situation. The AD was the baseball coach. The baseball team had 4 sets of uniforms with tackletwill. We couldn’t even get money for food for a couple away games, while the football team had pregame meals together as a weekly ritual. When questioned on the inequity, the justification was “it’s tradition!”

Terry Tighe
7 years ago

You go girl! 🙂

Love, Terry