The London Games have gotten my attention. The best way to get someone’s attention is with a lady, right? How about 269 ladies? Yup, that’ll certainly do the trick. This is the first year the US Olympic Team is sending more women than men to compete in the Olympic Games. Female athletes on the US Team Roster account for 269 of the 530 spots. Way to go, America! Also, since Women’s Boxing was added this year, this will be the first time that women will be competing in all of the same events as men. Ahh, even just writing that last sentence gave me the same chills I felt watching “League of Their Own” and seeing the fat slob in the stands yell “Girls can’t play ball!” Then, BOOM. Baseball, right to the throat, courtesy of Ms. Ellen Sue Gotlander. They can and they will participate in all 26 sporting events, beginning July 27th on NBC.
This wonderful and inspiring news has been credited to Title IX, the 1972 law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender and states (in part) that, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” This law has greatly expanded opportunities for female athletes and we will get to witness the progress made in women’s sports when the games begin.
American women aren’t the only ones riding high on girl power. For the first time EVER, women from Qatar, Brunei Darussalam and Saudi Arabia will be competing for the gold, on behalf of their countries. Brunei will send one (Maziah Mahusin), Saudi Arabia will send two (Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani and Sarah Attar) and Qatar will send four women (Nada Arkaji, Noor Al-Malki, Aya Magdy and Bahiya Al-Hamad) to compete. Olympics.org reports, “Fifteen years ago at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, 26 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) had yet to include female athletes in their delegations. Four years ago in Beijing, the figure had dropped to just three – the three NOCs that have confirmed they will be sending female athletes to London 2012, thus marking a historic milestone in Olympic history.”
I’ll admit, the last time I got really into the Olympic Games was the Kerri Strug-era. (I mean, sticking that landing! WOW!) But this year, I’m all in. If the above history-making news isn’t enough to get you to tune in on July 27th, I have another fun fact for you. Khatuna Lorig, who will be representing the US in Archery, trained Jennifer Lawrence for her role as Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games”. If Katniss can shoot an arrow through an apple in a pig’s mouth, I wonder what Khatuna can do?!
I’m obviously Team USA, but I’m excited to see ladies from all over the world get the opportunity they so deserve to compete for the gold.
Featured Image of Women’s Boxing Olympic competitor Marlen Esparza via Twylah.com