Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wednesday's Woman: The Athletes of the XXX Olympiad

Tower Bridge, Games of the XXX Olympiad, London

With the 2012 Olympics officially ending in just a few days, I am preparing for my post-games grief—that feeling of missing seeing great sports on television.  This grief is typically experienced at the end of the NFL season, so I am used to it.  Luckily, there are still many events in the Games of the XXX Olympiad to watch, and many events involve female athletes.

This is the first Olympics in history that every country has sent a female representative.  That’s awesome. 

Today, for Wednesday’s Woman, I am taking a pause from my viewing of Olympic coverage to celebrate the female Olympic athlete.

First, I give you the bad news.  According to two new studies on past Olympics, televised coverage of male athletes surpasses the coverage of female athletes (click here for the numbers).  The numbers are not yet in for this year’s Olympic coverage, of course, and I’ll be interested in the results. 

Also, the media is still calling females “fat” when they aren’t.  These are athletes.  They are in top condition.  Get a grip.  Some standards are ridiculous. 

Now, the good news. 

Yes, all countries have female representatives for the first time ever.   Another first is that the U.S. team consists of more women than men-- 269 female athletes to 261 males.  Wow.

It’s not a gender-numbers competition and the U.S. team is certainly pretty close to even.

However, for women in some countries (remember recent Wednesday's Woman, Maziah Mahusin?), getting to the Olympics is a feat accomplished beyond athletics:    TheMuslim women who overcame the odds and the prejudice to make history today onthe Olympic stage

Some of my favorite moments have been during the track and field events.  I love hearing the broadcasters tell the life-stories of the athletes as they prepare to place their feet onto the starting blocks.  After the events, seeing their bright faces and hearing their outpouring of gratitude rouses my ever-growing appreciation for those who have overcome adversity.

Some of my favorite stories:

Alysia Montano winning heat 1 of the 800m on her grandmother’s 100th birthday.

Lolo Jones finished 4th in a comeback, after hurdle mishaps which caused her to lose in the 2008 Olympics.  To me, she was already a winner after overcoming a childhood of homelessness and poverty.  And no, I do not care about the controversy over her sexuality (although I do wish we'd focus less on it).  She's a winner.  End of discussion.




Another to overcome a troublesome childhood was Kellie Wells, a survivor of child sexual rape, who won the bronze in the 100m hurdle.  I do hope she overcomes her bitterness for Lolo Jones' media attention.  I've always loved the quote, "You don't have to blow out another's candle to make yours shine bright."  And Kellie is no less than a winner, too.  I hope she continues to tell her story and is eventually a power advocate for healing.

There are many, many more stories about the inspiring female athletes of the XXX Olympics.  What are some of your favorites?

For of their courage,
 all of the female athletes at the
 2012 Olympics 
are today’s Wednesday’s Woman.



photo credit: iwillbehomesoon via photo pin cc
photo credit: Viktor Hertz via photo pin cc




Mama’s Losin’ It

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