It’s common knowledge that the Olympics brings the world’s best male and female athletes together to compete for the ultimate prize; a gold medal. These athletes train for years to be able to compete and have their shining moment of hearing their country’s national anthem playing while a gold medal drapes their neck.
There has been nothing short of amazing performances broadcasted of athletes breaking records and working their way to the podium. But, leave it to the media to take away the glory from certain athletes by diluting their performances with sexist comments. By certain athletes I, of course, mean women.
Sexism has found a way through the eyes of the media to make a home at the Olympics. I honestly am appalled at the numerous accounts of sexist remarks that have been made to these women that have fought their way to success on their own. This is unfortunate to hear, especially when the Olympics are supposed to be celebrating the best athletes in the world. Many of the public rally behind this event to try and support their country’s athletes. Some even install fiberglass flagpoles to fly their national flag in honor of this sporting event. Whilst people are still doing that, there is some sexism beginning to creep into this event.
Accreditation Gone WRONG.
Now, there are times to give credit where its due when another individual has contributed to an athlete’s success, but the media crossed the line several times when it came down to accreditation. Hungarian swimmer, Katinka Hosszu, demolished the world record and took home gold for the 400- meter individual medley. To the world’s surprise, an NBC commentator snatched Hosszu’s lime light away by stating that her husband and coach was, “the person responsible for her performance.” Yes, coaches can be given credit for their athlete’s success, but Hosszu was the one in the pool making history happen by breaking the world record by two seconds, not her coach. This should have been her chance to shine for her hard work, but sexism had to make a special appearance at the Olympic pool.
Treat an Olympian Like an Olympian.
The Final Five in gymnastics have taken the Olympics by storm in Rio. Those talented young ladies earned the right to call themselves the best by their heavily decorated necks including gold, silver and bronze medals. As the girls were standing together celebrating Simon Biles balance beam routine, an NBC employee commented, “might as well be standing in the middle of a mall,” I mean no disrespect to this commentator, but I do think the everyone guilty of sexist comments during the Olympics need to really take a second and think about what they say. Comparing Olympians to girls standing in the middle of a mall is complete disrespect for the girls’ credentials as world-renowned athletes.
Olympian Medalist Identity Covered by Husband’s Profession.
This situation made me extremely angry, if not the angriest out of every sexist comment made throughout the Olympics. Chicago Tribune tweeted a picture of Corey Cogdell stating, “Wife of Bears’ lineman wins a bronze medal today at Olympics.” The first issue with the tweet is that it didn’t even mention her name. Tons of other articles about athletes would at least would mention some part of their name whether it be the first, last or even both. Cogdell didn’t even get that luxury. Secondly, the tweet addressed her husband’s occupation which is completely irrelevant in this situation. I just find it appalling that a hard-working athlete’s lime-light was barely even shined on her.
Borderline Sexist Comments:
Some comments can easily be categorized into sexist or nonsexist, but there are others that are in the fence on which category the comment can belong in. Many are familiar with Katie Ledecky’s jaw-dropping performances in the pool. Her performances earned her the opportunity to be compared to Michael Phelps. Some may call this and honor, but some may call this a sexist remark. On one side, it is a compliment to be compared to the most decorated Olympian in history. On the other hand, it may seem that these comments are taking away from Ledecky’s accomplishments by comparing her to a man. Who’s right and who’s wrong? Is it an honor or is it an insult? Sometimes there isn’t a right or wrong answer. There is too much room left for interpretation. But when these situations arise, people need to realize the bigger picture. We are INDIVIDUALS. Yes, we have genders that we identify with, but that shouldn’t be the golden ticket for comparison.
It saddens me to have researched the abundance of sexist remarks that have been made throughout the Rio Olympics. Some comments are more severe than others and some are debatable on whether or not they are sexist. Overall, I think there needs to be a change in the way women are addressed when it comes to their success. The world needs to accept women as equals to men and not their inferiors. Women shouldn’t have to worry about being identified by a man. The big lesson here is for others to think before they speak. Give credit where credit is due. Let women be great. Society needs to learn to let women be amazing as individuals as well as recognizing their accomplishments in a positive light as women.
“Excellence is the best deterrent to racism or sexism.” -Oprah Winfrey-