Yesterday marked the opening ceremonies of the XXX summer Olympics and the third time that London will host a summer games (1908, 1948). This time around something is different and it is all about women! Not only is this the first summer Olympics where women will compete in the same number events as men, but it is the first time in history that the number of women competing on the U.S. Olympic team will outnumber men, 269 to 261. This milestone comes in the same year that title IX celebrates its 40th anniversary. The Huffington post quoted USOC CEO Scott Blackmun saying, “It’s a true testament to the impact of Title IX” the 1972 law that increased opportunities for women in sports across America.
This is a year of MANY firsts! 4,847 women will compete in the London games, the most ever in Olympic history. For the first time women will compete in boxing. It is also the first time that every competing nation will be represented by at least one female athlete including Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Arabian team consists of two female athletes, Sarah Attar will compete in the 800m and Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani in the judo competition. It was only in June this year that Saudi authorities lifted a ban that would allow women from the Gulf kingdom to compete in the Games.
And if you think women can’t have it all and Marissa Mayer is a super woman for being a pregnant CEO, take a look at Malaysian shooter Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi who is due to give birth to a girl any day now, she is predicted to be the most pregnant athlete in history to compete in an Olympics!
This is a big moment in history for women and is something for everyone to celebrate. I look forward to watching with my family and acknowledging with them the talent and hard work of every athlete that participates. It is truly aspirational and inspirational.
We will have more to celebrate in 2014 which will also mark the first time in history that there will be a gender equal Winter Games. This came to be when the IOC included women’s ski jumping last year. For the full history of that accomplishement check out the film READY TO FLY for which I am honored to be an Executive Producer.
Enjoy the Olympics!