Christine is inducted into US hall of fame

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A PIONEER for women in sport has been awarded a place in a hall of fame in the United States.

The honour is the latest achievement for Christine Grant, 77, whose career has been decorated with dozens of accolades, including six major awards for her contribution to sport.

Her latest honour was to be inducted into the Des Moines Sunday Register’s Iowa Sports Hall Of Fame – she currently lives in the American state, but retains strong links to her birthplace Bo’ness, on the outskirts of West Lothian, where her brother Hugh, 71, still lives.

During the induction ceremony, which saw her become the 213th member of the gallery of greats, Mrs Grant was described as a trailblazer for equal sports opportunities in the United States.

It came just six years after her efforts landed her the prestigious President Gerald R Ford Award – which is given to people who have provided influential leadership in university athletics.

Born in May 1936 in Bo’ness, Christine grew up with two brothers, Hugh and Alexander, who served with the Royal Scots Regiment and died some years ago.

She lived in the town during her youth before receiving a Diploma of Physical Education from Dunfermline College in 1956.

Using this, she progressed to be a high school teacher and coach before moving overseas.

She overcame difficulties with sexism in athletics and sports management to become a successful competitor, and a pioneer for women across the world who have high sporting ambitions.

Already displaying great ambition and success in a male-dominated profession, she took up roles as a field hockey coach and an umpire at various levels.

Beginning at high school and collegiate level, her talent was quickly noticed and she began doing the same job on a national and international stage in British Colombia, Ottawa and Toronto up until 1971.

It was during this time she earned a bachelor’s degree, then progressed to earn a PhD in physical education in 1974 from the University of Iowa.

By then she was athletics director at the university, a post she held for 27 years, and remains the only woman to have held the position.

In 1995, Christine received the Billie Jean King Lifetime Contribution Award, presented by the Women’s Sports Foundation.

She is also the recipient of two honorary doctorates and has served as the President of the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators and the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women.

She was inducted into the University of Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame in 2006.

The new award is the latest in a long line of accolades which mark a distinguished career.