I’m so sick of the double standards some of the Olympic headlines and broadcasters are making. Give the women Olympians who won their medals the credit they worked their butts off to earn.
For many years, I swam competitively for the YMCA, one of the highest levels of training available for my age group. Most of my peers at the YMCA went on to continue to train in college, with this being their intent for years. However, I hung up my swim cap and googles to focus on other activities related to my major once college rolled around. The closest I get to those days of 5 AM practices and hour long, grueling practices keeping me up past my bedtime is the summer Olympics.
I love watching swimming on the Olympics – watching their form, the way they glide through the water. Swimming is such a majestic sport to watch, but for an ex-swimmer who knows the techniques that go into making each stroke, it’s even more magical.
But recently, the magic and butterflies that leave me feeling like that gold-crown Snapchat filter have been crushed by the broadcasters and the headlines.
First, it was Hungary’s Katinka Hosszú whose husband was credited for not only her win, but for her setting a world record by two seconds. In swimming, every point-second is so crucial, so two whole seconds is crazy. Hearing that number made my mouth drop….. until my mouth hit the floor when one NBC commentator said “the person responsible for her performance” was her husband/coach.
Weird, because I’m pretty sure she was the one in the pool, right?
I, by all means, understand crediting her coach for making her become a stronger swimmer, but calling him responsible for that win is absurd. He helped train her and better her skills, but it was still her skill set that led her to that win. He pushed her, trained her, supported her, but he didn’t get into that pool and swim.
Or what about poor Katie Ledecky?
Watching the female 400-meter freestyle is my ultimate favorite since it was my stroke. Training for the sprints verses distance races, like this race, is a completely different task. It’s not just a physical game, but it’s a mental game. So after swimming these races, I give those competing in this race in the Olympics a little extra credit, an extra dollop of whip cream on their ice cream sundae.
So when it had to get clarified that Katie Ledecky swims like Katie Ledecky and not a man during the commentary of her post-race win made my blood boil. She just crushed her own world record and beat her closest competitor by five seconds (again, remember swimming-time, so five seconds is pretty much like, an hour). Instead of celebrating her win in all of its glory, this commentary was made.
Katie Ledecky swims like Katie Ledecky, an gold medal Olympic, an icon to female swimmers.
And instead of getting to enjoy the joy of this win, this had to be clarified. Though I am grateful that it was corrected, but come on? Now, of all times? It isn’t clarified about Michael Phelps’ sex when he crushes world records and wins medals. Her win is her hard earned win, whether if she’s male or female.
But you know what, it’s not even the female swimmers who are not getting the credit they reserve. It seems to be any woman from any sport.
The Chicago Tribune did not even name Corey Cogdell-Unrein in their headline about her trap-shooting medal. Her NFL husband foreshadowed the entire win, taking a more important role in the name headline then her….
Come on people, it’s 2016. I never thought I would have had to write about this. And as the games continue, I hope I don’t need to do a follow up article about MORE issues like this that arise.
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