Gender Gap and Diversity

Willoughby and Daudet crowned BMX race world champions

It was Lainey Wilson ’s night, in many ways. She took home female artist of the year and the top prize of entertainer of the year at the 2024 Academy of Country Music Awards.

“I’ve been in Nashville for 13 years doing this,” Wilson started her speech. “Everybody in this category has loved on me and believed on me,” she added. “And I love y’all for that.”

She joins an exclusive category of few women to earn the top prize: Miranda Lambert was named entertainer of the year in 2022. In 2020, Carrie Underwood and Thomas Rhett tied for the title, the first time ever for a tie and the first time a woman had won the category since Taylor Swift in 2012.

Wilson also opened the 59th annual ACMs with a cover of Little Texas’ “God Blessed Texas,” flawlessly jumping into her new single, “Hang Tight Honey.” Afterward, Clay Walker and Randy Travis presented Jordan Davis with song of the year for his ubiquitous country radio hit “Next Thing You Know.”

“First off, I want to thank the fans for loving this song,” he said in his acceptance speech. “I love songwriting because of songs that won song of the year, so to be holding this right now is crazy.”

Music event of the year also went to Wilson — and Jelly Roll, for his smash “Save Me.”

(Reuters) - American Alise Willoughby was roared to victory at the BMX Racing World Championships in South Carolina on Saturday as she claimed the title for the third time in her career.
The 33-year-old Willoughby, Olympic silver-medallist in 2016, edged out pre-race favourite Saya Sakakibara (Australia) at Rock Hill to add to her titles from 2017 and 2019.
France's Joris Daudet won the men's senior title, powering ahead of Dutchman Niek Kimmann, winner of the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, to earn his third rainbow jersey.
Britain's reigning Olympic and world champion Bethany Shriever failed to finish in the semi-final of the women's elite competition, as did Colombian great Mariana Pajon.
With two of her biggest rivals missing in the final, Willoughby took full advantage to take gold in the last big event before the Paris Olympics.
"I always say this place has a special place in my heart and I wanted to deliver here," Willoughby said.
"You dream of it and hope for it but doing it is a whole other thing. I am so proud to say I am still rising to my potential in the latter part of my career, and I just want to keep digging."
Daudet broke his collarbone at the start of the year, but showed his back to his beat in time for Paris, winning all his heats before dominating the final.
"I am a bit speechless, so many hours of work and dedication and everything came down to one lap and 30-seconds, so it is intense. What a day," he said.

Caitlin Clark has adopted a new mentality for her time in the WNBA.

TODAY’s Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager spoke to Clark at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the Indiana Fever’s game against the New York Liberty on Saturday.

Clark opened about how she is approaching the next chapter of her life as a WNBA newcomer.

Asked how it felt to be “the new kid in school,” Clark said, “It feels good. I mean, I think just the excitement and the energy around this league, around our team. But at the same time, I think just learning day by day. That’s going to be the biggest thing for myself.”

She continued, “And I think continuing to stack days, whether you learn one little thing or you learn a lot, I think continuing to improve is going to be the biggest part of it for myself. But also, don’t lose the fun of it.”

After setting records during her final season at the University of Iowa, Clark was the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft and was selected by the Fever. She was expected to sign a four-year contract worth $338,000, according to Spotrac.

Clark made her pre-season debut in the league on May 3 against the Dallas Wings. While the Fever lost 79-76 to the Wings, Clark scored 21 points during the game.

“My biggest goal coming into tonight was to continue to be myself, play aggressive,” Clark said in a postgame interview. “I thought that’s what I did. I think there’s a lot to be proud of.”

The two-time national player of the year made her regular season debut for the WNBA on Tuesday against the Connecticut Sun. While the matchup marked the Sun’s first home-opener sellout since 2003Clark struggled with 20 points and the Fever were defeated 92-71.

Despite the loss, the matchup became the most-watched game in WNBA history across ESPN platforms, according to the network. The game drew 2.1 million viewers and peaked at 2.3 million.