August 7, 2012

IconTeam GB Women are 8th in the Medal Table at the London 2012 Olympics

female athletesWomen in sport have always been a controversial topic. We’re a sex that has to work harder to prove our worth and our right to compete in that sport, even in 2012, women in sport is still not considered on a par with our male counterparts.  Typically, we play the same sport, with the same level of determination, with the same amount of passion, yet we’re still not deserving of the same respect and support as the men.

This year has been a turning point for sportswomen and female athletes alike.  2012, and on the world stage, the girls have made historical movements in showcasing how we’re not second rate when it comes to medal winning and success at the Olympics.  Here’s a couple of facts to consider about women in Olympics since 1908:

  • In 1928, women competed in track and field events for the first time; however, so many collapsed at the end of the 800-meter race that the event was banned until 1960.
  • Women competed in swimming events for the first time in 1912, but none of them were from America, which did not allow its female athletes to compete in events without long skirts. The first women’s swimming gold medal was won by the Australian Sarah ‘Fanny’ Durack, who won the 100m freestyle in 1912.
  • Qatar, Brunei and Saudi Arabic all sent female participants to the London 2012 Olympic Games, meaning now every national Olympic committee will have sent women to the Olympic Games.

The Olympics has been a sheer spectacle for many ways.  It’s an avenue where raw emotion is on display, from tears of joy to sheer devastation, to determination to pride, above all else, pride.  As a nation that’s saw the riots a year ago to this very week, we’ve come through it and now displaying pure heroism on the track of field where instead of running riots on the streets, we’re running riots on the track, on the fields, on the astro, on our bikes, in the water and in the air.  We’re a nation that’s showing the rest of the world that our tiny island is a force to be reckoned with, and we’re a nation of fighters, of success and of talent.

So far, on day 11, this is how Team GB girls have raked in those medals.

Athletics

  • Gold – Jessica Ennis // Heptathlon
  • Silver – Christine Ohuruogu // Women’s 400m

Cycling – Road

  • Silver – Lizzie Armistead // Women’s Road Race

Cycling – Track

  • Gold – Victoria Pendleton // Women’s Keirin
  • Gold – Dani King, Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell // Women’s Team Pursuit

Equestrian

  • Silver – Zara Phillips, Kristina Cook, Nicola Wilson and Mary King // Team Eventing

Gymnastics

  • Bronze – Beth Tweddle // Women’s Uneven Bars

Judo

  • Silver – Gemma Gibbons // Women’s – 78Kg
  • Bronze – Karina Bryant // Women’s +78Kg

Rowing

  • Gold – Helen Glover and Heather // Women’s Pair
  • Gold –  Anna Watkins and Katherine Grainger // Women’s Double Sculls
  • Gold – Sophie Hosking and Katherine Copeland // Women’s Lightweight Double Sculls

Swimming

  • Bronze – Rebecca Adlington // Women’s 400m Freestyle
  • Bronze – Rebecca Adlington // Women’s 800m Freestyle

Tennis

  • Silver – Laura Robson // Mixed Doubles

So, our women are responsible for collecting 6 of the gold medals, 5 silver medals and 4 bronze medals.  So if our girls were a country, we’d be 8th in the medal table, that’s above the likes of Kazakhstan, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa and the list could just go on and on.  We’re not stopping there either, we still have a good chunk of the week left to come, with medal opportunities still ahead of us!

We’ve come a long way to reach this stage, this turning point in the respect and support British girls get in sport.  Women’s sport in the Olympics has been on a huge journey over the years, with some events not even being included until very recent indeed as we were considered not good enough to provide that level of entertainment on the global stage.  This year, women’s boxing was introduced for the very first time, and if you consider the history of boxing in the male sphere, it’s a ‘man’ sport, only ‘men’ should fight and box.  This sort of stigma is still attached to the game today, as female weightlifters, wrestlers, rugby and football players and indeed boxers, are considered ‘not girlie’ as they’re meddling in a sport where men are the dominants, and that’s the way it should always stay.

However, with the inclusion of women’s boxing, Team GB filling Wembley stadium (that’s nearly 80,000 seats) when they played Brazil, and Canada vs USA football game nearly sold out Old Trafford last night, Zoe Smith becoming the face of weightlifting and the girls in the rowing, is proving the stereotype wrong.  Women are strong, talented and are more than capable to overcome the emotional turmoil that sportsmen and women have to endure with intense training and performing on the day.  Heck, I would argue we’re stronger, as how many of them are having to deal with being due on and hormonal too?  Phenomenal.

2012’s London Olympics is continuing to be a special sporting occasion, and we’re displaying some of the most exiting scenes ever to have been created in sports.  I am proud to say I’m from a nation of fantastic role models, where the attitudes are positive, healthy and bursting with team spirit.  I have been brought to tears on several occasion over the past 11 days due to the passion our girls are displaying, the positive attitudes showcased, whether we win or lose, and the message of “if I can do it, you can do it too” that echoes across the UK, symbolising overcoming adversity and the willingness to rip into newfound lands and even male spheres, where previously, we were considered not good enough.  Although these ladies are dominating the sporting field, their heroic exhibition is a message that can be translated into all avenues of life.

Team GB girls, I salute you.

Further reading:

  1. http://www.london2012.com/medals/medal-count/
  2. http://www.topendsports.com/events/summer/women.htm

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Ffion Davies

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