In this year’s Body Issue, ESPN featured three former University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team members in recognizing their fight for equal pay for all women who played on United States national teams.
Brianna Decker, Meghan Duggan and Alex Rigsby were part of a six-woman team, all of whom were honored for their courageous efforts this year when it came to achieving fair compensation for both men and women’s national team members.
Following a strike back in March, which almost resulted in the United States national hockey team missing the World Championship tournament, USA Hockey agreed to meet their players demands. Women’s hockey members would finally receive the same compensation as their male counterparts for their national team performances.
A moe than two days later, the women won gold at the World Championships, which would be their fourth consecutive title, and their eight gold medal overall.
Before Duggan, Decker and Rigsby — who are all currently on the roster to compete in the 2018 Olympic games — took a stand for equal pay, women’s hockey players were only compensated for the six-months prior to the Olympic Games. Any other games or tournaments that they participated in were usually funded by the athletes themselves.
Decker admitted to ESPN that one of their biggest focuses with the boycott was how it would impact future generations of players. The U.S. team wanted to ensure that girls could continue to play the sport they loved after college, without having a financial burden over their head.
“What we were doing had a bigger purpose,” Decker told ESPN. “Not only for our team, but for young girls around the country.”
It was thanks to not only the national team members, but also to all of the players who refused to take their place in the World Championships, that women’s national team members will finally earn the same compensation as their male counterparts.
The interview with ESPN also contained other information, such as misconceptions that the athletes face on a daily basis, and details on Duggan’s strict diet, which she started during her time at Wisconsin.
Duggan, who is a firm believer in eating healthy ingredients, admitted that she has not eaten fast food since 2011. It all started with a dare Duggan made with her team, saying that if they won both an NCAA championship and a World Championship, she would eat McDonald’s.
It wasn’t until Duggan and fellow teammate showed up for their NCAA win parade that she noticed her teammates carrying a McDonald’s bag.
Duggan claimed to ESPN’s Morty Ain that one of the reason’s she chooses to eat to healthy is to heighten her athletic ability.
“I take so much pride in my body,” Duggan said to ESPN’s Morty Ain. “We’re certainly shaping our body in a certain way, but, at the same time, it’s propelling us through our sport. And that just makes me really proud.”
The full interview is available on ESPN’s website.