April 3, 2024

April 3rd, 2024 Wednesday Wrap Up (The Rise of Women’s Sports, UKI North American Invitational Results, Health Clearances for Agility Dogs)

The Rise of Women’s Sports
Over the weekend, we enjoyed grilling food on the BBQ, indulging in chips and guacamole, and socializing as we tuned into the Iowa-LSU women’s March Madness basketball game. Even my 13-year-old daughter, who seldom shows interest in sports, found herself happily engrossed in most of the game, particularly enjoying the commentary.

Caitlin Clark led Iowa to a historic 94-87 victory over LSU in the Elite Eight, drawing an unprecedented 12.3 million viewers on ESPN, making it the most-watched women’s college basketball game ever. This viewership milestone surpassed the previous record set by the 1983 NCAA championship and outperformed last year’s NBA Finals and World Series clinching game. Clark’s 41-point performance avenged Iowa’s previous loss to LSU, emphasizing the growing prominence of women’s sports as this event also became the most-watched college basketball game on ESPN, doubling previous records.

photo credit: Grace Smith

According to ESPN, “Iowa’s past five televised games have surpassed 3 million viewers, including the past three that have drawn at least 4.9 million. The 60 women’s tournament games are averaging 1.5 million, a 127% increase over last year.”

Historically, female athletes faced significant barriers to participation and visibility in competitive sports, which reflected broader societal views on gender roles. Women’s athleticism was undervalued, and their sporting achievements were overlooked. However, the landscape has been changing and now we’re seeing a breakthrough in media coverage thanks to women’s basketball.

I think that the sport of dog agility benefits from this broader shift in media coverage. Dog agility, at least in the U.S., is dominated by women, and several national level events are now aired annually on ESPN and Fox Sports. We run with dogs but agility still embodies the physicality and competition that gives traditional sports its spectator appeal. For women, dog agility offers a space where gender does not define one’s ability to compete and excel.

UKI North American Invitational Results
The inaugural event took place this past weekend in Barrington, Illinois. Jennifer Crank was there, and shared, “I cannot say enough great things about this event! The venue, the competition…I’m already looking forward to next year with the hopes of working to get invites so I can attend this amazing event!” Jennifer hopes to see more big competitions run on turf, which is always difficult whenever a venue requires multiple rings. On the media side, Kama Rueschenberg provided commentary for the 4LeggedFlix live stream of the finals.

The UKI Invitational organizers have announced that the 2025 event will be held at the same venue on the last weekend in March. They’ve appointed four world-class judges—Jan Egil Eide, Kine Eimhjellen, Mike Wagner, and Dave Grubel—and plan to release qualification details in the next 2-3 weeks.

For complete results, visit: https://ukagilityinternational.com/events/1-tdc-north-american-invitational/1-tdc-north-american-invitational-documents-2025

Health Clearances for Agility Dogs
Catch our latest episode this week with agility competitor and veterinary expert Dr. Brittany Schaezler as we dive into health clearances for agility dogs. It’s a great overview on the topic, especially if you’re just starting out in the sport.

Dr. Schaezler breaks down why checks for things like hips, elbows, and eyes are key—not just for breeders but for any agility trainer. We’ll cover the essential tests, where to get them, and what they mean for you and your dog. Check out Episode 340: “Health Clearances in Dog Agility” for all the information you need to make sure your dog is healthy and ready to compete.

As always, email me at team@baddogagility.com with your comments and questions. This week, I’d like to know if you became a part of sports history by watching the Iowa-LSU game! I’ll definitely be watching the Final Four games on Friday, and the national championship game on Sunday.

Happy Training,

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