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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
This incredible collection of photographs and personal essays focuses on one crucial question: What does a female athlete look like? Journalist Jane Gottesman, frustrated by the lack of coverage for women's sports in major publications around the country, posed this question to photographers. Their responses, along with Gottesman's own selections, comprise Game Face, a visual record of the diversity, skill, and determination of female athletes.
In her introduction, Gottesman describes the political message embedded in Game Face: to highlight the importance of Title IX, the historic 1972 law stating that individuals cannot be excluded from sports on the basis of gender. The female athletes who run, jump, and soar across these pages are part of a continuing struggle -- for equal opportunities, equipment, and coverage -- that began long ago with pioneering women such as Babe Didrikson. Gottesman pays tribute to female athletes past and present in the final pages of Game Face, by including a timeline of important events in the history of women's sports.
But the heft of Game Face is made up of the unforgettable photographs. Each photo represents a moment that now lives on indefinitely. Gwen Torrence crouches on the track before a race at the 1996 Olympics, her face calm, her posture invoking a meditative state of perfect concentration. Brandi Chastain shouts with joy after the U.S. women's soccer team wins the 1991 World Cup. The winner of a race at a Memphis track meet wipes a tear from the loser's eye and embraces her. A young girl in bell-bottom jeans turns a lighthearted flip on a dusty road in Florida in 1974. Whether exuberant or exhausted, the women in these photographs embody the answer to the question at the heart of the book.
From the unknown to the famous, Game Face presents a wide spectrum of women in motion. Gottesman also mixes the historic, such as a snapshot of the first woman lighting the Olympic flame in 1968, with the contemporary. These juxtapositions -- old and new, unknown and famous -- hint at the amazing breadth of women's sports. Although flipping through Game Face is a powerful experience for anyone, it has special significance for the next generation of female athletes. For these young women, Game Face should be a source of inspiration, a glimpse of the opportunities that are now open to them. (Julie Carr)