Features, Travel

London 2012: The Women’s Games

By Priya Kumar As the flame was extinguished on the 30th Olympiad, the games drew to a close last night. Besides receiving some harsh words in its early days by US presidential hopeful Mitt Romney (who called the state of the games "disconcerting" in regards to the security personnel shortage), London 2012 emerged to be the seamless production the IOC had hoped for. There were no threats of terror, the fear of overcrowding in Central London went without merit and the wait times to access Olympic related events were virtually nonexistent. Having experienced the games first hand, it was with great sadness I watched the closing ceremony yesterday. London was the first truly accessible Summer Games that have occurred in recent memory-- the last being Atlanta which was be-speckled with scandal and an act of terror. Having some time to reflect, what truly set these games apart from the previous was the role female athletes played.

USA's most successful Gymnastics Team of all time-- Left to right: McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, Jordyn Wieber, Kyla Ross

In 1988, when the Summer Games were held in Seoul, South Korea, 26% of all participating athletes were women. In London, this figure has grown to 45%. What's more, 65% of all the medals won by Team USA (out of 104 medals) went to women. Furthering the importance women play in sport has been a cause the IOC has backed in the past, but now so more than ever in 2012. London marked the first games ever that at least one female athlete represented every country participating. As we mentioned in a previous blog post, Wojdan Shaherkani was at 16-years-old the first female athlete to represent Saudi Arabia at the Olympic Games.  Although she is only a blue belt in Judo, and faced a slight uphill battle to be allowed to wear a head covering during the competition, she has paved the way for aspiring female athletes from her homeland.

Spice Girl Reunion: GIRL POWER!

It's clear the significance of the role women now play in sport is rapidly catching up to that of our male counterparts. With a games that closed featuring the reunion of the Spice Girls, the original advocates of "Girl Power", there possibilities are endless for women in sport. We look to Rio 2016 with eager anticipation.  

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