I created my list of 7 wonders of the sporting world (greatest athletes). There was some great feedback, including some rightly questioning the lack of female representation on the list.
Although I considered all sports people, men and women, only men made the final top seven list. I would have loved to have included some females, but unfortunately, there was none I considered worthy of the top seven. Sorry but I was never going to just include a female for the sake of inclusiveness, all places had to be rightly earned. Not everyone will agree with my selections, but that is the nature of all such lists, everyone has different opinions. There is no one right answer.
There were females in consideration for the top athletes’ list, but did not make my list of top 7. For example, Serena Williams is one of the greats of tennis, though in my opinion was not greater than Federer. Where she lets herself down in my reckoning is on the role model component. That’s just my opinion. It would be great if there was someone who was worthy of making the list. The reality is that the most anticipated and most-watched sports around the world tend to be male-dominated, and that is what my lists represent. It is not a reflection of the worth of female sports.
The best way I thought to show gender balance was to have a similar list only for females. I think that is better than trying to compare the male and female athletes directly. Here are my top 7, and again apologies if I have left out your favourite, I cannot please everyone.
What constitutes a sporting wonder? It is not just skill and sporting results. A wonder must dominate in their chosen sport, be a good sports person, good role model for the sport, and have worldwide appeal so that their profile is known outside of their sporting circles.
I recently wrote about Women Olympic Games Pioneers in which I discussed some of the early women participants at the Olympics, and the slow move to equality in women’s participation at the Olympic Games. There have been some great moves towards creating the opportunity for women to compete in the same sports as the men, with the inclusion of women’s boxing now completing the set so there are women’s events in all sports on the program. This is a great thing, but the reality is that there are huge barriers for women to even compete in any sport in some countries of the world, let alone the Olympic Games.
Up until now, three Muslim countries have never before sent a female athlete to compete at the Olympics: Qatar, Brunei, and Saudi Arabia. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Charter clearly promotes equality: “The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practising sport, without discrimination of any kind.” However, the IOC seems to be doing very little to support the women competitors from these countries.
Each of these countries has made comments that suggest there may be sending some female participants to London, but we will have to wait and see. If Qatar is serious about their bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics, they need to send a clear message to the IOC, as it seems the IOC is not sending any clear messages back at them.
March 21st, 2012 · Comments Off on Women Olympic Games Pioneers · Olympic Games
With the addition of women’s boxing to the Olympics for 2012, all sports on the program now have events for women. However, women have had a long road to equality at the Olympics. There are some interesting stories and little known facts about early female participation in the Olympic Games.
The Ancient Olympic Games was limited to males athletes only, and they had to be free and Greek speaking too, with only male spectators allowed as the athletes participated in the nude! The only way women were able to take part was to enter horses in the equestrian events. There are records of several winning women horse owners. As the owner of the horse teams, they were credited with the victory, though they were most likely not present at the events.
Following on from the Ancient Olympics, women were also not invited to the first edition of the modern Olympic Games in 1896. Women participated for the first time at the 1900 Paris Games with the inclusion of women’s events in lawn tennis and golf. There were also three French women competing in croquet and there was at least one woman sailor as part of mixed crews.
It is commonly believed that first woman to win an Olympic event was England’s Charlotte Cooper, who won the tennis singles title and also the mixed doubles event. However, a month or two earlier Swiss sailor Hélène de Pourtalès won a gold medal as part of a team in the 1-2 ton Olympic sailing event. Charlotte Cooper is clearly the first woman Olympic champion, as winner of the women’s tennis singles tournament, though Hélène de Pourtalès should be rightly heralded as the first woman to compete at the Olympics and the first female Olympic gold medalist.
It was recently announced that women tennis players at Wimbledon next year will get the same prize money as the men. Why does it have to be so? There is inequality in sport everywhere, but this is not sexist.
Athletes in most Olympic sports and many other international sports do not get anywhere near as much as tennis players, and most likely work just as hard, but it is just the way it is. It comes down to market demands, if people are paying to watch them play, to buy products etc, then there will be money in sponsorship and gate fees that can be passed on to the players in the form of payments and prize money.
If women tennis players want to get paid more, they should entertain us more, increase the quality of their play, make reasons for people to come and watch, and give us value for money. I am not saying that they are all like this, but I see are too many fat, lazy, bitchy, rich kids which are not good for the image of females in sport. If you looked at most of the high-profile women’s sports, they don’t need a pay rise – they are getting paid too much already.