There were many firsts in the London 2012 Olympic Games. For example, women participated from every country, Gabby Douglas was the first African American woman to win gold for the all-around event in gymnastics, medals were awarded to female boxers, and 29 of the 46 gold metals won by United States athletes were by the ladies. Yes, it’s 2012 and it took that long. Could this be change for the better, forever?
According to David Wharton of The Los Angeles Times: “Women represent a record 44% of the nearly 11,000 athletes here. This summer marked the first time that every nation brought at least one female athlete, the International Olympic Committee pressuring Qatar, Brunei and Saudi Arabia to open their previously all-male teams.” A Saudi Arabian female athlete participated in the Olympics but her country refused to air the performance. As a result, it wasn’t a complete win for universal rights but a beginning.
Ann Killion of Sports Illustrated: “But the story of the London Olympics is that something right is happening in our collegiate athletic and youth programs that are the primary feeder system for Olympic sports. And that Title IX and its beneficiaries aren’t going anywhere. The law continues to reap dividends for Americans and its impact is spreading around the globe.” Title IX was a part of the 1972 Education Amendments that declared that no United States citizen should be excluded from participation in any education or activity receiving Federal monies on the basis of sex.
Female athletes participated at record levels at the 2012 Olympic games, however the sexualization (my Word spell check doesn’t recognize this “word”) continues. For example, NBC News produced a tasteless, porn-like video of women athletes. It was eventually pulled off the network’s television and website due to public pressure. Here “it” is:
For future generations of athletes, human rights must become the global norm. The Olympic Charter “…encourages and supports the promotion of women in sport at all levels and in all structures, with a view to implementing the principle of equality of men and women.” In the 17th Century, William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice play included the line “…all that glisters is not gold.” Change must be more than symbolic gestures in order to be equal.