TO JAN. 2, 2002

Game Face: What Does a Female Athlete Look Like?

Vomiting into a trash can, gripping a leg in pain, fumbling the ball: You won’t see any of these agonizing moments featured in the Smithsonian’s “Game Face: What Does a Female Athlete Look Like?” But you will see a collection of photographs (Lynn Johnson’s Aimee Mullins is pictured) that illustrate the inspiring determination of female athleticism. Women of all ages, sizes, and races are depicted—in photographs by such notables as Annie Leibovitz and Ansel Adams—alongside quotes from their competitors. The exhibition strives to capture the essence of the athletic drive of women: Take the pole-vaulter captured in midair, balanced with effortless ease—in Victorian gear. Or Kathy Switzer—whom race officials once forcibly tried to remove because women weren’t allowed to compete—running the Boston Marathon. Or the confident little girl (think Welcome to the Dollhouse’s Dawn Wiener) poised on a skateboard preparing to ollie. And, of course, Marion Jones’ winning smile at the 2000 Olympics after she earned an astounding five medals. Surrounded as we are these days by images and advertising aimed at and featuring sporting women, it seems a wonder that Title IX was enacted less than 30 years ago. “Game Face” is on view from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, to Wednesday, January 2, 2002, at the Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building, 900 Jefferson Drive SW. Free. (202) 357-2700. (Liz Eckstein)