"(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
, 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 prefers 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.
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
Anime and 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.
- 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. She's a childhood friend of the Hero Ichigo Kurosaki but hasn't shown any romantic interest in him. She protects her friend Orihime Inoue from anyone who would harm her.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- An Tachibana from The Prince of Tennis, member of the Fudomine girls' team.
- Maki Akamine from Captain Tsubasa, who is very serious about her career in softball. She has now a very good chance to go pro.
- 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.
- Subverted with Minako/Venus from Sailor Moon, who loves sports and is really good at volleyball — but is more focused on her Sailor senshi duties and her Idol Singer dreams. Haruka/Uranus plays is straighter, and so do both her friend Elsa Gray in the original anime's 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.
- 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 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)
- 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.
- Shirley Fenette from Code Geass, one of the stars of Ashford Academy's swimming team.
- 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..
- 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.
- Hikari Kamijou from Hikari No Densetsu, who adores gymnastics.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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...
- Chihaya Arata from Chihaya Furu, who starts playing karuta to have her own goals, and from then on becomes hotly devoted to the game.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- Princess Merida from Brave is passionate about swordplay, horseback riding, and archery, which annoys her Proper Lady mother Queen Elinor.
- 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.
- Julia from Dino Time. Though this is mostly an Informed Attribute.
- 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.
- Mary Camden from Seventh 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.
- 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.
- Lots of "Harry Potter" examples, but most prominent is Ginny Weasley, who has been "smuggling her brothers' brooms out of the shed and practicing Quidditch since she was nine".
- Also, Quidditch team Captain Angelina Johnson.
- 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.
- 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.
- Emi Ibarazaki from Katawa Shoujo is a 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.
- 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.
- 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 DrillSergeantNasty while training the rookies at the Wonderbolt's Academy.
- My Little Pony Equestria Girls: The human version of Rainbow Dash is, according to Pinkie Pie, the captain of every sports team.
- Lor from The Weekenders lives for sports. Intellectual pursuits...not so much.
- Francine from the PBS animated series Arthur is not only passionate about sports but is the key to victory in many competitions.
- 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.
- 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.
- Korra, the titular 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.
- In one of the Snoopy specials, we learn that Peppermint Patty is an excellent ice skater and follow 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.