I have been a bit quiet since my last post, mainly due to obsessively watching the Olympics combined with preparing to move back to the East Coast, this time to upstate New York, in a ‘city’ I am slowly getting my hands on. Hello, Ithaca.
Going back to the Olympics– This summer, I was quite pleased to see Phelps break more records, the female American Gymnastics Team light up the games (and media), and the emergence of a new star, Missy Franklin. Those are just a few of the stories of a very record-breaking-heartfelt-stories-filled Olympics.
What I was particularly pleased about was the obvious observation of women making a big splash on the sports world. A simple fact: women won more (and I mean, way more) medals than their male counterparts in the US, China, and Russia, the leading countries in the London Olympics. These three large delegates also brought more women than men. Two thirds of the gold medals won by Team USA were won by women. Every national delegation had a female athlete on its team. In many of the sporting events, women fared better then the men (US Women’s soccer, anyone?). Female athletes helped Britain achieve its best medal tally since 1908. Women simply won disproportionately more medals then men. There were no female competitors when the modern Olympics started in 1896.
When Saina Nehwal returned to her home, India, after winning the bronze medal in badminton, the ovation and euphoria received from fans was comparable to the kind usually reserved for their all-male cricket team.
The statistics and facts go on.
While women’s professional sports still get less media attention, let alone viewers and audience interest, in an event like the Olympics, it does not take a lot of analysis to see that they are not doing so bad these days. Of course, some things still come later than they should when we talk about gender equality. Saudi Arabia, Brunei and Qatar (finally) let women compete on their Olympic teams for the first time. And speaking of sports, the Augusta National Golf Club has decided to “stop embarrassing itself and move into the mid-20th century” by admitting two women as members (New York Times). The members are no other than former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore, a business executive.
As Andrew Rosenthal of NYT put it, there is not excuse for the right thing to take place a few generations too late.
With this dramatic London Olympics, I really cannot wait to see what’s next for women, and for underrepresented women in Rio.