A rarity in the sporting world, Cat Phillips (AUS) is a multi-sport athlete, who competes in both Ultimate - Flying Disc and Australian Football. She is the co-founder of the Australian Ultimate League – the only mixed-gender, semi-professional field sport in the world. When the Australian Ultimate League was last played in 2019, Phillips was awarded the Davis Medal as female Most Valuable Player for the 2019 season. Phillips is a campaigner for gender equality, which this month attracted the attention of CNN. She is our Athlete of March 2021!
Cat Phillips was born in London but she grew up in Melbourne, Australia. During her youth she tried a lot of sports, including Netball, Athletics and Water Polo, but in 2007 she fell in love with Ultimate. “It’s kind of like a combination of Netball and American Football. It’s non-contact, you can’t run with the disc and you have to throw it between seven people on your team. To score a goal you have to catch it in the try area, like an end zone in American Football”, Phillips says.
The American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) was founded in 2010, and its inaugural season was played in 2012. However the league was created for men's teams only, as were many other leagues in the world too – either only for men, or for men and women but separately. In 2018, when Phillips started the Australian Ultimate League (AUL), they opted for a different approach, creating the world's first mixed-gender league to provide an equal opportunity for men and women to compete.
CNN writes: “What Phillips has done by creating a mixed-gender league is not only in line with the sport's highest level – it's played as a mixed sport at The World Games – but also with the International Olympic Committee's vision to create a more gender-equitable Games by including more mixed events.”
Currently, Phillips is competing in the Australian Football League, with the goal of winning the Premiership trophy at the end of April. At the same time, she continues to train for her other goal of competing in her third edition of The World Games for Australia in Ultimate in 2022.
As The World Games Athlete of the Month, Cat Phillips will receive The World Games Athlete of the Month diploma as well as a branded gift from the Official Sponsor of Athlete of the Month, Protective Life.
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The World Games is a multi-sport event staged every four years by the International World Games Association under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee. The 11th edition of The World Games will be held in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 7-17 July 2022. 3,600 athletes from over 30 sports and 100 countries will take part in The World Games.