As women continue to break down barriers in sports, Ronda Rousey remains ahead of the pack. In 2008, the mixed martial artist became the first American woman to medal in Judo at the Olympic Games. And in 2013, she will become the first woman to headline a women's title fight for the UFC. An electrifying presence in the world of mixed martial arts, the 26-year-old is a triple threat of brawn, brains and beauty. Behind her is a strong woman, her mother, who is a former Judo champion and the one who taught Rousey how to execute her most famous move, the arm bar. In this REAL SPORTS/Sports Illustrated collaboration, correspondent Jon Frankel visits Rousey's home in Venice Beach, CA and training camp in Big Bear, where she opens up about her childhood, her groundbreaking fighting career and her accelerated rise to stardom.
Maria Toor Pakay was born in 1990 in the lawless mountain region of northern Pakistan as a radical Islamic philosophy was taking root and women were restricted by Taliban leaders from doing many things, including playing sports. Encouraged by her father to pursue her interests, she posed as a boy and was soon one of the best young athletes in the country. Eventually revealing herself to be a woman, she became the national champion in her country's beloved sport of squash. After Taliban leaders threatened to kill her if she did not end her athletic career, Pakay received a once-in-a-lifetime offer from a world champion in the Western world. She is now one of the sport's rising stars and a symbol of resistance against oppression. Correspondent Mary Carillo travels to Pakistan for this captivating REAL SPORTS report.
Imagine a sport where male bonding and toughness are not only more important than winning games, but define the men who play it. Now imagine being a gay man in this testosterone-driven environment, forced to hide your identity. For years, former Welsh national team member Gareth Thomas was one of the most successful figures in rugby while pretending to be somebody he was not. In 2009, Thomas came out publicly and became the only openly gay man among active players in major professional sports. Now 38-years-old and retired from professional rugby, Thomas faces a new challenge: competing in one of the most stereotypically gay sports, figure skating, on the British, reality series "Dancing on Ice." In this Real Sports segment, correspondent Bernard Goldberg reconnects with Gareth Thomas as he prepares for the competition while knocking down more barriers.