"[Rainbow Dash is], like, the captain of every sports team."Female athletes are depicted differently in fiction from male athletes. While their male counterparts are usually either dumb or jerks, fictional female athletes are usually given sympathetic portrayals and more often are used to explore gender roles. Usually this just means that girls who like to play sports (particularly traditional male sports) are Tomboys who prefer to play with the boys. Often she can put the Jerk Jock in his place by beating him at his own sport. Of course she can vary anywhere from a girl who's sweet and shy but puts her all into the game, to one who has a dark personality and just wants to play football. The specific sport she pursues will also be a factor: tomboys will likely be into soccer, basketball, swimming, martial arts or baseball/softball while girly girls will favor tennis, ice skating, gymnastics of either kind and volleyball. You can tell that she's passionate because this girl lives for one sport at which she excels, or perhaps for any opportunity to show her strength, despite what anyone else thinks. In the first case, if it's a traditionally male sport, her desire to prove herself could lead to Sweet Polly Oliver as she attempts to get on an all boy team. If she plays a variety of sports then she's more likely to be the Girl Next Door. If it's a boys' team then it's You Go, Girl!. She's also a more accessible Love Interest for the hero, since he can get to know her better by playing sports with her. There is a bit of Wish Fulfillment here for both the guys (who want a girlfriend they can talk sports with) and the girls (who want to associate themselves easier with sporty guys). On the other hand, making sports her priority can be intimidating, at least at first. In works focused on female characters she is sometimes subjected to Even the Girls Want Her since her sports heroics impresses the girls, but without being as intimidating as a boy. This is particularly common in Anime. When taken to the logical extreme this can turn her into a Lesbian Jock. Unlike male athletes who are usually not depicted as stellar at academics, female athletes are more likely to be an Academic Athlete who has excellent grades as well. Though this isn't always the case. Compare Gamer Girl, another example of a female in a traditionally male-dominated medium, and also the Girly Bruiser, who can have the same passion for sports but have a Girly Girl personality. Contrast Short Tank.
— Pinkie Pie, My Little Pony: Equestria Girls
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- The Trope Codifier in anime and manga is Hiromi Ouka, the main character of 1972's Aim for the Ace!. Her teammate Reika "Madame Butterfly" Ryuuzaki also counts as this.
- There's also Attack No. 1, where secondary Trope Codifier Kozue Ayuhara is the heroine, who transfers to Fujimi college and impresses the volleyball coach when she tries out. After making friends and enemies, the story highlights her struggles and triumphs as she matures and tries her hardest to become the best volleyball player in the school, Japan and the world.
- Natsuki Hayami from Amakusa 1637, doubling as a Heir to the Dojo. This is VERY plot important, as she gets Trapped in the Past and must use her kendo skills to impersonate her Identical Stranger... a famous and talented swordsman with a massive case of Dude Looks Like a Lady who turns out to be Shiro Amakusa. Yes, that Shiro Amakusa.
- Azumanga Daioh: Kagura is a strong all-around athlete, second only to Sakaki in talent. Near the end of the series, she even announces her intentions to try out for All Japan Women's swim team.
- Tatsuki Arisawa in Bleach. She knows karate (and is second strongest in her age group in all of Japan) and is a member of the kendo club.
- In the Card Captor Sakura anime, Sakura's sempai Rei Tachibana is the star of Tomoeda Primary School's track team. And then she found a strange sort-of ferret that turned out to be a Clow Card...
- In the third part of the series, Nakuru Akizuki shows quite the athletic qualities and is an excellent basketball player. There's the issue that she is technically the gender-less magical being Ruby Moon, but since she looks and refers to herself as a girl, we should keep it that way.
- Maki Akamine from Captain Tsubasa, who is very serious about her career in softball. She has now a very good chance to go pro.
- Chihaya Arata from Chihaya Furu, who starts playing karuta to have her own goals, and from then on becomes hotly devoted to the game.
- The heroine Nobara Sumiyoshi from Crimson Hero. Her mother wants her to be more feminine and ladylike and train to become the heiress of their family restaurant, but Nobara lives for volleyball and little else. She is so passionate about volleyball that she attended Benio High for the chance to play for the girls team, and when she found out her mother paid the school to get it cut to force her to live for the family restaurant, she ran away and started working to bring the girls team back to the school.
- Shirley Fenette from Code Geass is one of the stars of Ashford Academy's swimming team, and she's sometimes seen practising or getting ready for tournaments.
- In DNAČ, Junta and Ami's friend Kotomi Takanashi is pretty good at gymnastics (which is very well seen in the OP of the series). Problem is, she's a shy Shrinking Violet... and when she gets nervous, she starts farting...
- Ran Mouri from Detective Conan, who's pretty serious about her karate, and is good enough at it to have a rather high national score.
- In Dragon Ball Z Videl is this for martial arts, and even gets to compete in a huge tournament. Too bad she faces a Brainwashed and Crazy opponent that gives her a BRUTAL beatdown.
- Hikari Kamijou from Hikari No Densetsu, who adores gymnastics.
- Hungry Heart: Wild Striker has Kyosuke's prospect girlfriend, Miki Fujiwaki, who is a member of her school's soccer team for girls. It's thanks to Miki's passion for the sport that Kyousuke, who once played soccer too but left it due to personal problems, decided to restart playing.
- In Lady, the grown-up protagonist Lynn Russell has become a very passionate horse rider and wants to go pro so she can go to the Olympics. This being a shoujo manga, it won't be easy...
- There are other girls in this series who also want to become sportswomen, specially either horse riders or tennis players. With a good reason: the school offers a beautiful prize named the Lady's Crest to the best sports girl in campus, and all of them want it. So Lynn finds several rivals in her path like Vivian Spencer, Sophie Montgomery, Catherine and Mary Warbaugh.
- Suzuka Tsukimura in Lyrical Nanoha is usually a Shrinking Violet and a girly girl. However, when it comes to team sports (such as dodgeball), her passion and skill surprises everyone. In a supplementary manga, she manages to catch a ball thrown by Fate and hit Fate with it mid-air. For the record, Fate is a mage who specializes in Mach 2+ aerial combat, and Suzuka is a muggle.
- Makie Sasaki (gymnastics) and Akira Okochi (swimming) from Mahou Sensei Negima!. To the point that the Artifacts they get from their Pactios with Negi exploit their sports abilities: Makie's magical artifacts are all based on gym props, whereas Akira's allows her to teleport through water.
- In Mahou Tsukai Chappy, Chappy befriends a sad and troubled older girl named Katie Klein who is a professional ice skater, but is losing her self-confidence after failing to pull a VERY difficult routine. note Chappy decides to help Katie regain her strength and finally nail the routine in time for a tournament. They succeed.
- Miki Koishikawa and Arimi Suzuki from Marmalade Boy. Miki is in Toryo High's tennis team, while Arimi is in her own school's track team. We even get to see Miki play and win some matches in the early parts of the story, and Arimi is seen training in the scene when Ginta visits her in her school, as foreshadowing of how they'll end up falling for each other..
- Kaoru Orihara fom Oniisama e..., basketball star. Rei used to be one.
- Subverted by Fukiko "Miya-sama" Ichinomiya. She's an excellent horse rider and is seen practising in the school fields, and not to mention she's a decent swimmer as well, but it seems to be used more as a way to empathize her Ojou background than to show her as a sportswoman.
- There's at least one of these in almost every Pretty Cure season: Nagisa Misumi from the original series and Max Heart (lacrosse), Saki Hyuga from Futari Wa Pretty Cure Splash Star (softball), Rin Natsuki from Yes! Pretty Cure 5 (Soccer), Itsuki Myoudouin from HeartCatch Pretty Cure! (Martial Arts), Hibiki Houjou from Suite Pretty Cure ♪ (various sports), and Akane Hino and Nao Midorikawa from Smile Pretty Cure! (volleyball and soccer, respectively)
- Princess Nine is a good example of a show who has a lot of female athletes, some of whom fit this trope perfectly and some who don't. Ryo, Hikaru, and Koharu seem to fit, while the rest of the team doesn't, with Yoko being an outright subversion because she isn't really into baseball, or sports in general, but is on the team to get attention for her modeling career.
- An Tachibana from The Prince of Tennis, member of the Fudomine girls' team.
- Subverted by Sakuno Ryuzaki, who started playing to get closer to Ryoma, but is still a Shrinking Violet. Though it's played straighter in the manga: she does have what it takes, improves relatively fast, and in one of the fanbooks she actually gets third place in a local tournament less than a a year before she started playing.
- Utena Tenjou from Revolutionary Girl Utena is introduced as this, being a very athletic girl who happily helps up sports teams and has a horde of fangirls. Of course, the story will soon turn into something totally different for her...
- To a more "aloof" degree, there's fencing team captain Juri Arisugawa.
- Sailor Moon
- Minako/Venus subverts this who loves sports and is really good at volleyball — but is more focused on her Sailor senshi duties and her Idol Singer dreams. She eventually rejoins the volleyball team towards the end, however.
- Haruka/Uranus plays this straighter (so to say and her specialities are racing and field running.
- Two characters of the day in the original anime are sports women: Haruka's Friendly Rival Elsa Gray in the S season (track Teen Genius who actually introduced Haruka to her future partner and girlfriend, Elegant Classical Musician Michiru/Neptune) and Lovable Alpha Bitch Sonoko Iijyuin (captain of the softball team) from the Stars season.
- Shinshunki Miman Okotowari has Asuka Higuchi, who is very athletic and wants to be a PE school teacher. She becomes a member of the gymnastics club, and even gains a rival in the gym club captain Youko Kamiya.
- Subverted by Hitomi Kanzaki from Vision of Escaflowne, as it's hinted that she joined her school's track team because she had a huge crush on the team captain Susumu Amano and wanted to spend time with him before he left to the USA to become a pro. Her running skills do come handy later in the story, though, when she runs like she has never done it before to save Van from being killed by Dilandau.
- Tsubaki from Your Lie in April is in the baseball club and is much more passionate about it than her studies.
- In Yubisaki Milk Tea, Hidari Morii like playing soccer and is skilled as well so when her clasmate Yori Hotta is founding a girl soccer team she is promptly asked to join which she does. Meanwhile Toko Nogi is the captain and The Ace of her high school basketball team. All three girls however have the same problem: other people have a hard time keeping up with their talents and ambitions, in sport as well as love.
- While Yuri!!! on Ice is mostly about passionate sports boys, it also has female skaters like Mila Babicheva and Sara Crispino, who love the sport and are dedicated to it as much of the guys.
- Peppermint Patty from Peanuts is like this. An admitted Tomboy, she not only manages her own sandlot baseball team, but loves to play football, even in the rain (possibly especially in the rain. There was a brief storyline where she started associating this with the feminist movement, but eventually, she started to just do it for fun. Unfortunately, her bookworm friend Marcie doesn't share her appreciation for it much.)
- Carol Danvers is a dedicated football (soccer) player in Child of the Storm and very good at it, captaining her school team, specifically playing as a box to box midfielder, a position requiring a great deal of energy and skill. The author then elaborates that the specific comparison he was going for was Steven Gerrard of Liverpool FC, owing in part to their shared nickname of 'Captain Marvel' and similar dedication and, of course, Rule of Cool.
- Kai from Riding The Waves has stated to like Extreme Kickball.
- In Reality Is Fluid and "Alls Fair In Love And War", we learn that Kanril Eleya is a fan of both springball and baseball, specifically of players and teams from her home province Kendra. In the latter story her new father-in-law jokingly tells her and Gaarra to get an annulment: "I will not have my grandchildren rooting for the Warriors!"
Films — Animation
- Princess Merida from Brave is passionate about swordplay, horseback riding, and archery, which annoys her Proper Lady mother Queen Elinor.
- Julia from Dino Time. Though this is mostly an Informed Attribute.
- My Little Pony: Equestria Girls: The human version of Rainbow Dash is, according to Pinkie Pie, the captain of every sports team. The sport we actually see her playing in the movie is soccer, and she's indubitably a crack.
- Inside Out: Riley is a pre-teen girl from Minnesota who's extremely passionate about playing hockey. Her love for hockey is one of her personality islands that becomes a plot point later on when her inability to perform well during San Francisco tryouts and subsequent rage-quit triggers the breakdown of the island, signifying her further slippage into depression. Both of her parents actively encourage her involvement in the sport with unbridled enthusiasm.
Films — Live-Action
- Bethany Hamilton in Soul Surfer starts off with a future on the real waves she surfs. When she comes back from a loss, beating the odds and never saying never, she becomes a champion.
- All Violet from She's the Man wants to do is play soccer. When the girls' team gets cut and she isn't allowed to try out for the boys team she realizes that if she joins the rival team and beats the school that rejected her she can prove that she should get to play.
- A passion for soccer is the common bond for the girls in Bend It Like Beckham, covering not only the leads, but their teammates and rivals.
- Erin Clavelli in By The Sword, she starts off as rather subpar, but under Suba's training, is able to beat Villard's star pupil Jim Trebor in a competition bout.
- As One is a Korean film about the North Korea-South Korea unified team that competed at the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships. The protagonists are two women players, one from the North and one from the South, who start off as bitter rivals but become fast friends by the end. The men's team players are little more than extras.
- Leslie from Bridge to Terabithia is better at running than the boys and is teased for it, but makes a friend in the main character, who got her the chance to run.
- The Dear America book With the Might of Angels has Dawnie who is teased for playing baseball but the joke's on the boys who tease her because she is proud of it.
- Kristin Amanda "Kristy" Thomas from The Baby-Sitters Club loves sports, and even coaches a softball team for small children. She called it Kristy's Krushers, which includes many of the club's sitting charges.
- Harry Potter
- The most prominent is Ginny Weasley, who has been "smuggling her brothers' brooms out of the shed and practicing Quidditch since she was nine".
- Angelina Johnson: when she becomes Quidditch team Captain in book five, she gets so into it Harry starts to worry she's channelling the last captain's spirit.
- A Song of Ice and Fire has Little Miss Badass Arya Stark, who spurns ladylike activities in favour of swordplay. Her late aunt Lyanna Stark was an ardent horse rider.
- Unfortunately, Lady Brienne of Tarth acts as the counter-point, showing that women who do get their dream of being knights find it's not all it's cracked up to be.
- In the Star Darlings franchise, Astra has mastered every sport at the academy.
- Malgorzata Musierowicz has given us Gabriela, the star basketball player who's Tomboy and happy about it.
- Mary Camden from 7th Heaven plays on the girls' basketball team and is seen as a girl who would give the guys a hard time because of her self-confident nature.
- Samantha "Sam" Kepler from Wishbone participates in every sport her male friends do and would much rather be taking karate lessons than dance lessons.
- When Laura Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie acts like her spunky, baseball-playing self, she attracts a guy who plays, too.
- Jane Vaughan of Degrassi just wants to play football despite the harassment from her team mates. She's good, too.
- Moze from Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide is good enough to get into all the sports teams in her middle school, loves sports, and is co-captain of the volleyball team. She's the most athletic of the main trio, and she was even easily able to make the wrestling team, beating all the guys on the team without getting even a little winded. Plus, she has more athletic records than anyone in Polk Middle School history.
- Joan Watson on Elementary is seen regularly jogging, enjoys watching baseball games, and is implied to have played soccer when she displays knowledge of the sport.
- Pretty Little Liars: Emily loves her sports.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
- Kira Nerys is shown early on to be a fan and amateur player of the Bajoran sport springball, and even bonds with her first Love Interest Vedek Bareil Antos over the sport.
- Baseball fell out of favor on Earth in the 21st century, with the last World Series played in the 2040s. However, Ben Sisko is a fan, and first becomes attracted to his Love Interest Kasidy Yates over her enjoyment of Cestus III's baseball league (her brother plays for one of the teams).
- Vanessa from the TV film Odd Girl Out. She's passionate about soccer, and Emily bonds with her over their love of it.
- Red on Fraggle Rock
- Rival Schools: Natsu Ayuhara is the captain of Gorin High's all-girl volleyball team and a strong swimmer. The ending of the PlayStation version even shows her spear fishing (0:22). Her teammates all look up to her and consider her a role model.
- Tokimeki Memorial, being a Dating Sim, has several of these. The first one and trend-setter is the swimmer and Bokukko Nozomi Kiyokawa from the first game (and to a much lesser degree, tennis player Yukari Koshiki, who's a member of the tennis team but is more relaxed about the sports); we also have Rumi Kanbe (track runner) and Sayo Tsukimura (volleyball) from the second game (more exactly, from related side-materials), as well as main heroine Hikari Hinomoto; and Itsuki Maeda (soccer) from the fourth.
- Mitsumete Knight, one of the Tokimeki Memorial series' Spiritual Successors, has Hanna Shawski, a dedicated track runner who also has traits (short messy brown hair) and manners (Bokukko) of the trope, and hopes to go to a reputed foreign sports academy after High School. However, her arch rival Linda Zakroyd always beats her during Sports Festivals, driving her to become better.
- While The King of Fighters has many action girls who double as martial artists, the closest to this trope is Hinako Shinjou... who actually wants to be a sumo wrestler since she believes that being a girl should not be an obstacle to do so.
- Katawa Shoujo
- Hisao's prospect love interest Emi Ibarazaki is the star runner on her school's track team... despite having lost her legs and running with special prosthetics.
- Miki Miura is also a runner in the team — and she actually lost her left hand.
- Otome Katou from School Days, in both the anime and the original game, is the star of the basketball team.
- Nanami is also a sportwoman, good enough to be a Scholarship Student.
- The swimmer Aoi Asahina from Dangan Ronpa is such a Passionate Sports Girl that her title is Super High-School Level Swimmer as well as the reason why she was chosen to be in Hope's Peak to start. And swimming's just what she's best at, as she participates in six different sports clubs. And if we count Mixed Martial Arts as a sport, then Super High-School Level Wrestler Sakura Oogami fits as well.
- And both Aoi and Sakura are succeeded in Super Dangan Ronpa 2 by Super High School Level Gymnast Akane Owari. However, with Akane it turns out to be subverted: she explains in the Free Time events that she only does gymnastics because she can win lots of money at competitions (she comes from a very poor household and witnessed lots of unpleasant crap in her Dark and Troubled Past), and despite not being very bright she just so happens to be really good at it.
- Chiemi Fujimoto of True Love Junai Monogatari is both one of the love interests and the captain of the girl's swimming club in the Player Character's school. Two specific moments in her route are related to sports: the PC can find her jogging at some point and they have a cute talk (and he finds out that she loathes bugs), and the other happens when they have a swimming competition, she rescues him from drowning, and then have a tryst in a small island localted near the harbor.
- Francine from the PBS animated series Arthur is not only passionate about sports but is the key to victory in many competions.
- In Barbie Spy Squad, Barbie and her friends are proud of being gymnasts and very good at it, which is what catches Zoe's eye.tions.
- Maria Wong from Braceface loves sport, especially extreme sports, and is always trying to get her friends to join her, but Sharon and Connor do not share Maria's thirst for danger or competitive streak.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- Rainbow Dash is a tomboy who excels at flying and dreams of joining the Wonderbolts, an elite stunt flying/rescue team.
- Spitfire, leader of the Wonderbolts, is a mare. She also acts (keyword: Acts) like a Drill Sergeant Nasty while training the rookies at the Wonderbolt's Academy.
- In one of the Snoopy specials, Peppermint Patty reveals that she's an excellent ice skater and the plot follows her as she gets ready for a contest. She's almost disqualified when her music tape is broken, but Woodstock improvises a whistling melody to help her.
- Reggie from Rocket Power is just as passionate about extreme sports as her brother Otto. She has also been shown to enjoy the regular sport of volleyball in a few episodes.
- Sandy Cheeks of Spongebob Squarepants takes "extreme sports" to a whole new level. Favorite past times include cycling through the industrial park and finding a hay in a pin stack.
- Korra, the title character from The Legend of Korra, loves "Pro-Bending" so much that she joined a pro-bending team when the opportunity to do so presented itself.
- Total Drama has a few examples, most notably Sky, Eva and Jo. The latter are semi-antagonists, but not completely stereotypical Jerk Jocks.
- Alex from Totally Spies! is the most athletic of the three, although her favorite sport appears to be soccer.
- Lor from The Weekenders lives for sports. Intellectual pursuits...not so much.
- The X-Men: Evolution's version of Jean Grey is not only a member of the X-Men, but also a skilled soccer player and the captain of the girls' team in her school. Sadly, she's kicked out of the team when it's revealed that she's a mutant.