Olympic coach to speak at WKU


In celebration of March’s Women’s History Month, WKU’s Gender and Women’s Studies assembled an eclectic lineup of nationally recognized speakers and presentations.

Olympic boxing coach and WKU alumna Christy Halbert will talk about the 2012 inclusion of the sport on an international stage in her presentation, “The Debut of Women’s Olympic Box- ing.”

“I think [women’s boxing] is long overdue,” Halbert said in an NPR interview. “We made our case for many, many years…I guess you could say women boxers have been training for about 105 years now for the right to get back to the Olympic podium.”

Jane Olmsted, department head of Diversity and Community Studies, said Halbert briefly taught at WKU in the mid-2000s. She kept in touch with Halbert after she left the university, and thought having Halbert share her experience would be timely given the recent finale of the Sochi Winter Olympics.

“I think anytime you hear about an area of the world that you don’t normally experience, your eyes are opened,” Olmsted said. “I think students will hear about the event and think ‘Oh wow, women’s boxing?’. Exposure to new ideas broadens their world views just a little bit more.”

Halbert graduated from WKU in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. She currently serves as the director of the Boxing Resource Center, located in Nashville. Her groundbreaking research became the first

published regarding social experiences of professional female boxers, according to the Boxing Resource Center’s webpage.

In 2011, Halbert received the US Olympic Committee’s Olympic Torch award for her work in developing and advancing the sport to an international stage. The 2012 summer games marked the first time in Olympic history where women athletes participated in every sport.

Activist and poetry-slammer Staceyann Chin preceded Halbert with “The Other Side of Paradise” on Tuesday.

The department’s will next present “The Vagina Monologues” at Russell Miller Theater on March 20.

Molly Kerby, associate professor in Diversity and Community Studies, said the events will really connect with students, particularly Chin’s.

“My event of the semester, as always, is the Vagina Monologues,” Kerby said via email.“We have been doing the Vagina Monologues for years. It used to be a project of one of our gender and women’s studies core courses but we opened it up to all of our minors and friends a few years ago.”