Women's World Cup ticker-tape parade is first in New York for a women's sports team
All 23 U.S. team members attended the event Friday
Boy, am I glad one of my soccer-playing daughters decided to miss a day at her beloved camp Friday so she could witness history.
After all, how often in her life will she see a ticker tape parade in New York for female athletes, most of whom are not from the New York area?
Not. Very. Often.
My daughter and I joined thousands of other fans of all ages – many families with young girls – chanting “USA, USA” as the U.S. Women’s World Cup champions passed by on floats en route to City Hall, where they would each be presented with a key to the city.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced this week that the champs, who defeated Japan 5-2 on Sunday before a record U.S. television audience, would be honored Friday with a ticker tape parade along the Canyon of Heroes in lower Manhattan.
Yep, it’s the same honor afforded the New York Giants after their Super Bowl victories and the New York Yankees after their many World Series titles.
The mayor’s office says it was the first ticker tape parade for a women’s sports team in New York City’s history.
The New York Times reports that Howard Wolfson, an aide to former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, offered the idea in a phone call to de Blasio at the start of the women’s final in Vancouver.
On Monday, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer got New Yorkers involved when she circulated a letter that she sent to the mayor, calling for a special parade for the U.S. women’s team, which did something no other women’s soccer team in the world has done: win three World Cups.
“New York City has a strong history of honoring sports achievements in the Canyon of Heroes, but has never held a parade to honor a women’s team,” she wrote. “Our newest soccer champions represent an opportunity for New York to recognize that heroes and role models come in all genders.”
One day later, New York first lady Chirlane McCray tweeted, “The people have spoken and they want a ticker tape parade to celebrate … “
The cost is reportedly $2 million, with $450,000 coming from private donations and the rest paid for by the city.
Whether or not you attended, watched it online or followed along on social media, here are a few fun facts about Friday’s celebration:
1. They’re not the first non-New York athletes to be honored.
In 1984, after the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, U.S. medal winners – male and female – were celebrated with a ticker tape parade. The group included gold medalists Mary Lou Retton (gymnastics) and Cheryl Miller (basketball).
2. Previous parades honoring women
In 1960, Carol Heiss, winner of the Olympic gold medal in figure skating, was feted with a ticker tape parade. She was a local heroine who grew up in Queens. There were also parades for Amelia Earhart in 1928, as the first woman to complete a transatlantic flight, and a salute to the women in the armed services in 1951, according to the business improvement group for lower Manhattan, the Downtown Alliance.
3. Soldiers. Sea captains. Now, soccer stars
“Soldiers. Kings. Sea captains. A pope and a concert pianist,” the Downtown Alliance says on its website, listing the 205 ticker tape parades that have taken place in New York City “celebrating achievements of all shapes and sizes.” The first was in 1886, marking the dedication of the Statue of Liberty.
4. First non-Giant, non-Yankee parade since 1998
Since 1996, New Yorkers have gotten plenty used to ticker tape parades, with four for the World Series champion Yankees and two for the Giants after their Super Bowl triumphs. Friday’s parade was the first non-New York sports team event since a 1998 salute to Sen. John Glenn and his fellow crew members of the U.S. space shuttle Discovery.
5. All 23 team members attended.
Every member of the historic World Cup winning team was on hand, from the longest-serving members of the team, Abby Wambach and Christie Rampone, to the youngest member, Morgan Brian, 22.
Because most of the team is savvy about social media, there were plenty of posts with pictures and hashtags – everything from #thecelebrationcontinues to #WorldChamps to #SheBelieves, in honor of all the young girls this team hopes to inspire.
As President Barack Obama said in a phone call to the team this week, they’ve “inspired a whole new generation of young women.”