Founders of WSI

WomenSport International is pleased to recognize and acknowledge the work of the founding members of WSI: Celia Brackenridge, Libby Darlison, Barbara Drinkwater, Kari Fasting and Marion Lay.

These women realized the need for an international organization that could act as an evidence-based advocacy group on the international stage and could work with international sport bodies to utilize research to promote the participation of girls and women in sport and physical activity – and get it done.

It is their foresight that has helped expand women’s sport organizations around the world, and provide an avenue for information sharing and communication. Their actions have helped WSI see an increase in opportunities for girls and women to participate in sport and physical activity around the world.

Celia Brackenridge
After teacher training and degree study at Cambridge and Leeds Universities, Celia taught Physical Education in a Hampshire secondary school. She then moved into higher education for 28 years, first at Sheffield Hallam University and then at Gloucestershire University. She ran her own research-based consultancy company for four years before returning to higher education at Brunel University in 2005.

She is a former captain of the England and Great Britain Women’s Lacrosse teams, a world cup coach and a BASES-accredited interdisciplinary sport science researcher. Her books includes: Spoilsports: understanding and preventing sexual exploitation in sport (2001, Routledge) and Sexual Harassment and Abuse in Sport: International and policy perspectives (2002, Whiting and Birch).

Libby Darlison
Libby’s background is social policy and change consultancy. She has extensive experience across the government, corporate and community sectors and a strong interest in organisational change, management and leadership development, and capacity building within organisations. She is a director of the Miller Group – Social Policy Consultants – chairs the Premier’s Council on Active Living, and is a member of several government Boards and Advisory groups. In addition to her Australian work, she has managed projects in North America, Asia, Oceania and Africa, including work for WHO, UNESCO and IOC.

Libby taught sociology and behavioural science at universities in Australia and Canada. She also served as deputy director general at the Australian Sports Commission, and has been a member of the International Olympic Committee Gender Commission. Libby is a former Chair of the Premier’s Council for Women. She served as member at the NSW Tow Truck Authority Board, the NSW Institute of Sport and the Ministerial Public Health Priority Taskforce.

Barbara L. Drinkwater
Barbara retired from the Department of Medicine, Pacific Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Prior to joining PMC, she was at the Institute of Environmental Stress, University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research has revolved around the response of women to exercise as mediated by environmental factors and aging. Special areas of interest have been the female athlete, her physical performance under environmental stressors such as heat and altitude, the effect of exercise associated amenorrhea on bone health, and the role of exercise, calcium, and exercise in preventing osteoporosis.

Barbara is a Fellow and former President of the American College of Sports Medicine. In 1984 she received the ACSM Citation Award and in 1996, the ACSM Honor Award. She currently serves as a member of the IOC Medical Commission Medical and Scientific Group. Barbara received her B.S. from Douglass College, the M.S. from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, and the Ph.D. from Purdue University. Both Douglass and UNC have awarded her their Distinguished Alumni Award. Two Universities have awarded her an honorary Doctorate, DeMontfort University in the UK. (1999) and the University of Toronto (2001).

Kari Fasting
Kari is professor emerita at the Department of Social and Cultural Studies of the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, in Oslo, Norway. She became the first elected chair of this institution and served as rector from 1989 to 1994. She was also the first president of the Norwegian Society for Sport Research. She is past president of the International Sociology of Sport Association, and one of the founding members of WomenSport International.

Kari’s main research area is women and sport, and she has written more than 300 publications. During the last years her research has focused on sexual harassment and abuse in sport. She often is an invited speaker at international conferences. In the 70’s she participated as an athlete on the national team in track and field. She has also been member of the executive board of the Norwegian Amateur Track and Field Association (1976-1980). From 1985 to 1991 she was a member of the Women’s Committee in the Norwegian Confederation of Sports representing this organization during the first 6 years of the European Women and Sports Group (1990-1996).

Marion Lay
Marion is President of 2010 Legacies Now. She was involved with the Vancouver 2010 Bid Corporation since 1988 and is past-Chair of the 2010 Bid. In 2002, she was elected to represent the City of Vancouver as a member of the Board of Directors for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC). She is also a past member of the Executive Committee of the Canadian Olympic Committee.

Marion is a two-time Olympian and a member of the bronze medal 4 x 100 metre freestyle relay team at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City and is also a Commonwealth gold medalist. Marion is a founding member and past chair of the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS), and former director of proMOTION plus. She is also a founding member of WomenSport International. Marion holds a Master’s degree in the sociology of sport from California State University at Hayward. In 2001, Marion received the International Olympic Committee Trophy for the Americas for her work in women in sport.