You Go Girl!

Posted on: July 26th, 2012 by Rachel Cosgrove 1 Comment

Reading about the Olympics and the history of women’s sport as I am getting ready to go to London to watch all of the amazing female athletes in the 2012 Olympics and realizing how far we have come!

Did you know that because they thought running is not good for the female reproductive organs, women were not let into the Olympics for Track & Field until finally after huge controversy in 1928? But in the 1928 Olympics, the women in the 800m event pushed themselves so hard, giving everything they had (like elite athletes do), and all collapsed at the finish line because they were tired. Because of this the officials decided that women should not compete in anything longer than 200m again! This rule stayed until 1960 when they finally added the 800m event in again for women!

Men’s Marathon was first in the Olympics in 1908. Women were still banned from the marathon in 1967 when the famous story of Katherine Switzer who was disguised as a man (not on purpose but because it was cold and rainy) and mid race when they realized there was a woman in the race, the officials tried to pull her out screaming, “Get the hell out of my race and give me that number!” Her boyfriend ended up jumping in and getting into a fight with the official meanwhile screaming to Katherine to “Run like hell!” and she did and finished the race.

Photo Credit to AP/WideWorld Photo.

This year is the 40th anniversary of Title IX which stated, “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…” – June 23, 1972

And it’s the 40th anniversary of women being allowed to run the Boston Marathon!

Women have made a lot of progress in 40 years but I believe we are also yet to see the potential women have as athletes. It’s hard to believe that not that long ago female athletes were not given the opportunities they are now and actually told you can’t do that, you’re a girl…We are only just beginning to learn what we are capable of.

Working with my clients, I have seen more and more of them over the years stepping up to take on challenges including push ups, chin ups, powerlifting competitions, 5K’s, Mud Runs, Triathlons and more. We have had a huge presence of women on our team at a number of the local powerlifting competitions, which, up until we showed up, have been a mostly male event with only a few women competing.

Two of our clients, Jan Broneer (who, cool fact: played basketball at UCLA before Title IX paving the way) and Sue Albert recently took on the challenge of a Mud Run and a Triathlon (where they both earned medals).

I love seeing more and more women take on physical challenges that, in the past, they always had been told…

You’re a girl, you CAN’T…

…lift anything too heavy.

…do a chin up, just hang from the bar.

…do a push up, do them on your knees instead.

…run that far, you’ll hurt yourself.

YES WE CAN!

 I recently met Ann Meyers Drysdale, US basketball player, who was the second woman to be signed to a four year athletic scholarship for college after Title IX.

She went on to become a standout player in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal winning a Silver medal and was the only woman to sign an NBA contract. Talking to her I learned a lot about what it was like to be a female athlete 40 years ago. Not only that but Title IX meant that coaching women was now a profession that male coaches went after. She is very passionate about not only seeing female athletes reach their potential but also seeing females step up as coaches to be role models for the female athletes. She is an inspiring and fascinating woman who has been at the forefront of women’s athletics. She’ll be in London broadcasting the Women’s Basketball games and has a new book out that is a must read…

And now, in the 2012 Olympics, for the first time Team USA is sending more female athletes than male athletes. Plus, with the addition of women’s boxing, this is the first Olympics that men and women will compete in all of the same events. And every participating country is sending at least one female athlete, even countries who have never sent a woman before (Qatar, Brunei and Saudi Arabia).

“I always have a spare flower for my hair. . .It’s important for people to realize you can be strong and feminine.”–Olympic runner Alysia Montano, will be racing in the 800m event at the 2012 Olympics (an event that up until 1960 women were banned from)

I’ll be there to cheer on these incredible women!

Sources

How to Watch the Olympics, By David GoldBlatt and Johnny Acton, Penguin Books, 2011

Sports Illustrated May 7th, 2012

MarathonWoman.com

NBC Chicago

One Response

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