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SBD/August 8, 2012/Olympics
Female U.S. Olympians Are Leaving Their Mark On London Games
Published August 8, 2012
EVERY COUNTRY REPRESENTED: In Baltimore, Jean Marbella in a front-page piece writes women are "making their mark on these Olympics in other ways: This is the first time that every country has at least one woman competing." This also is the "first time the U.S. team has more women than men on it, 268 to 261, as does Canada's and Russia's." Many of the "stars who have emerged from these Games so far are women" (Baltimore SUN, 8/8). SI’s Alexander Wolff writes most people in London are choosing to "celebrate how far women have come, rather than rue how far they still have to go.” Former U.S. Gold Medal-swimmer Donna de Varona said, “These are ministeps. But even if you think they’re token gestures, they represent beacons of hope. That every country has sent women, I think, we’ll look back at as a watershed” (SI, 8/13 issue).
FEMALE FACES EMERGING: In Newark, Andrew Mills writes few countries "give its female athletes the same opportunities as the U.S., so maybe it's fitting, then, that many of the best American stories in London have been authored by women," including the "dominance of the U.S. women's swim team" and the team and individual victories for U.S. gymnastics. The women's soccer team is "one victory away from another Olympic championship," and Morgan is the "rising star on this team, the future of her sport." Mills: "This is the part that speaks to the success of women's soccer in the U.S. and the power of Title IX: She never played a single game with most of the stars from that golden generation, who retired before she joined the team" (Newark STAR LEDGER, 8/8). In DC, Barry Svrluga writes under the header "Alex Morgan Emerging As New Face Of U.S. Women's Soccer" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/8).
IS THIS REALLY GIRL POWER? FOXSPORTS.com's Jen Floyd Engel wrote, "Anybody who believes this is girl power needs to take a closer look at what it means to be truly powerful." Women at the Olympics are "winning medals and losing battles, participating in record numbers and being judged by different standards, given trails to blaze and then called whores for doing so." U.S. hurdler Lolo Jones was "ripped for being too sexy, gold medalist swimmer Allison Schmitt for not being sexy enough." Floyd Engel: "Attacks on Gabby Douglas' hairstyle overshadowed her gymnastics dominance, just as criticism of Serena Williams' celebratory dance at Wimbledon did hers. This is not girl power. This is bordering on a backlash." Women are "playing and winning." The danger is that we "confuse this with power, girl or otherwise." Floyd Engel: "Real power is not being allowed to compete. It is being allowed to compete without conditions" (FOXSPORTS.com, 8/7).