Barbie releases 9 new dolls of trailblazing women athletes — who made the team?

Tennis pro Venus Williams stands on a tennis court, holding up a Barbie version of herself. Her hair is in a ponytail and she wears a white tank top.

We already know that Barbie is a doctor, president, author, and astronaut — but ahead of the 2024 Olympics, Mattel is reminding us of her athletic prowess, too.

Today, Mattel announced a series of nine dolls that will honor trailblazing women athletes around the world, with one-of-a-kind Barbies made in their likeness.

A collage of Barbie dolls representing famous women athletes. "Team Barbie: You can be anything."
Photo courtesy of Mattel

So, who are these sports stars? 

  • Venus Williams, an American tennis player and one of the most decorated Olympic athletes
  • Christine Sinclair, a Canadian soccer player who is hailed as soccer’s greatest international scorer (with 190 goals to her name!)
  • Mary Fowler, an Australian football player, who became the team’s youngest player to be selected for the FIFA World Cup at 16 years old
  • Estelle Mossley, a French boxer who was crowned as an Olympic champion in 2016
  • Alexa Moreno, a Mexican gymnast who was Mexico’s first female world medalist in the sport
  • Rebeca Andrade, a Brazilian Olympic gold and silver medalist, who has one more than ten medals in World Cups
  • Susana Rodriguez, a Spanish paratriathlon star, who has set records in her sport and was also a doctor on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Frederica Pellegrini, an Italian swimmer and record-breaking Olympic gold medalist who was elected to the IOC Athletes Commission after her last competition in 2020
  • Ewa Swoboda, a Polish track and field springer who is a decorated championship medalist and holds the world lead of 7.01 seconds in the 60-meter race

“Throughout my career, I’ve always been driven by the idea of shattering glass ceilings and staying true to myself, and Barbie’s mission couldn't resonate more deeply with that ethos,” Williams said in a statement

Tennis pro Venus Williams stands on a tennis court, holding up a Barbie version of herself. Her hair is in a ponytail and she wears a white tank top.
Venus Williams and her Barbie. Photo courtesy of Mattel/WME Sports Studio

“I’m honored to be recognized as a sports role model and join forces with Team Barbie to continue empowering the next generation of young girls to never stop believing in their dreams.”

Unfortunately for collectors, these dolls are one-of-a-kind and will not be available for purchase. However, they represent a much larger initiative that will feature the real-life athletes.

As part of the Barbie Dream Gap Project, which fights stereotypes that keep girls from achieving their dreams, Mattel’s flagship brand has partnered with VOICEINSPORT, a digital sport platform dedicated to keeping girls in athletics.

Australian football player Mary Fowler holds up a Barbie doll in her likeness
Mary Fowler and her Barbie. Photo courtesy of Mattel/Michael Bowles

Through this partnership, Barbie will host inspirational virtual venturing sessions with the aforementioned Barbie Role Models on the VOICEINSPORT platform, which are free to attend and will continue into 2025. Girls in sports ages 12 and up are encouraged to sign up to attend these free mentoring sessions.

A press release shared: “Knowing that girls involved in team sports are more likely to believe they are smart enough for their dream career, have high opinions on their abilities and competencies, increased leadership aspirations and enjoy higher levels of self-confidence, Barbie is bringing together these inspiring stories that are shaping the future to show girls that anything is possible if you relentlessly pursue your passions.”

A mockup of five posters from Barbie and VOICEINSPORT, with blue, purple, and pink gradients. "Fact: Girls in sports are 14% more likely to believe they are smart enough for their dream career." "Fact: Girls are 2-3x more likely to drop out of sport than boys between 8th and 12th grade." "Fact: When girls are active, they are healthier and happier, and have greater self-esteem, body confidence, and wellbeing."
Photo courtesy of Mattel/VOICEINSPORT

VOICEINSPORT’s founder, Stef Strack said that providing access to these professional athlete mentors is “a dream come true.”

“We built VOICEINSPORT to bring more visibility to women athletes globally so that girls around the world would be inspired to dream big and build confidence to stay in the game,” Strack said in a statement.

This initiative comes as part of an ongoing year-long celebration of Barbie’s 65th anniversary — and comes ahead of the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, France, which is the first-ever Olympic Games to achieve gender parity

Spanish paratriathlete Susana Rodriguez poses with her Barbie doll. Rodriguez lives with albanism, and her doll reflects that.
Susana Rodriguez, who was born with albinism, poses with her doll. Photo courtesy of Mattel/Petra Rajnicova

While the other Barbie Role Model athlete dolls will not be sold to the masses, a collection of new sports doll lineups and playsets have been announced, aiming to “encourage the next generation of empowered women to explore a future in sports through play.”

They include a 2024 lineup of Barbies that are basketball players, boxers, tennis, and volleyball players; a soccer doll assortment; and a gymnast playset. 

Mattel also released a special edition Kristi Yamaguchi doll to its Barbie Inspiring Women line last month, honoring her as the first Asian-American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in figure skating. 

A Barbie doll that looks like figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi
The Kristi Yamaguchi doll was released in April. Photo courtesy of Mattel

The brand’s retail partners are also investing in these empowerment initiatives, with Target contributing a $65,000 donation to The Dream Gap Project, with a portion going directly to Girl Talk, an organization that produces peer-to-peer mentoring programs for girls.

Walmart will also release exclusive content with Barbie Role Models Katya Echazarreta and Venus Williams throughout the year. 

“The sports one-of-a-kind role model dolls serve as an embodiment of our shared values of passion, empowerment and individuality,” Krista Berger, Mattel’s senior vice president of Barbie and global head of dolls, said in a statement. 

“By shining a light on these inspirational athletes and their stories, we hope to champion the belief that every young girl deserves the opportunity to pursue her passions and turn her dreams into reality.”

Header image courtesy of Mattel/WME Sports Studio

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May 22, 2024 8:40 AM
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