Watching people who have worked so hard, sacrificed so much and achieved at such a high level in their sport is exciting, nerve-wracking and sometimes tear-inducing.
What has been equally entertaining has been watching dedicated feminists shame the media for unfair, biased coverage of female athletes….and many many many of those watchdogs are men who are as sick of obvious sexism as the rest of us.
Three stories stick out:
1- Corey Cogdell-Unrein’s bronze medal in women’s trap shooting was announced in a tweet by the Chicago Tribune as “Wife of a Bears’ lineman wins a bronze medal today in Rio Olympics.” Firestorm. After way too long of a delay, they finally deleted the tweet and retweeted “Corey Cogdell-Unrein won the bronze medal in women's trap shooting. It's her second Olympic bronze”. You have to wonder who was arguing for just leaving it alone and pretending that the initial tweet wasn’t a mistake. “Yeah, this will blow over.” Or not.
2- Then there was the world domination in women’s gymnastics by Team USA Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Laurie Hernandez, Madison Kocian and Aly Raisman. The NBC commentator said that they looked like they “might as well be standing in the middle of a mall” after they were hugging, laughing and talking about their annihilation of the competition. Firestorm. No comment from NBC. And then Simone Biles keeps getting compared to male athletes as "the next Michael Jordan" or "the next Michael Phelps".
We’re just hoping it improves. But it’s an uphill battle — in a study from the UK’s Cambridge University Press, they analyzed 160 million words and found that men are usually referred to as "strong, big, real, great or fastest" while female athletes are noted based on their age, marital status, appearance and whether they are moms. "People perhaps aren't aware of the differences in the way people focus on the appearance and marital status of female athletes," Cambridge language researcher Sarah Grieves told CNN Sport ahead of the start of the Olympic Games. "The research is merely descriptive -- and doesn't aim to provide answers to larger questions -- but it does bring to the fore things people maybe aren't consciously aware of when they're speaking about different genders in sports.”
3- But we love, love, love the fact that we know that Kristin Armstrong won her cycling Gold Medal at age 42 and said following her triumph:
"I think that for so long we've been told that we should be finished at a certain age. And I think that there's a lot of athletes out there that are actually showing that that's not true. For all the moms out there, I hope that this was a very inspiring day.”
Because we can.
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