Sexism in the Olympics

Women are still being subjected to sexism during the Olympics and it needs to stop


by Lucy Whittaker, Staff Writer

Whether it is being criticized for their appearance, not receiving enough credit or being called the next *insert male Olympian*, women are faced with sexism during the Olympics.

When Katie Ledecky swims and absolutely crushes it, she is compared to a man.  Her swimming  stroke is “like a man’s stroke” and she is “good for a guy.”  Ledecky is a five time Olympic gold-medalist and a nine time world champion but apparently the only way to highlight a woman’s athleticism is to compare her to a man.

In no surprise, Fox News announcers made sexist comments about female gymnasts and whether they should wear makeup or not during their performance. Panelists Bo Dietl and Mark Simone thought it constructive to debate why female athletes wear makeup claiming it “enhances their performance.” So if Usain Bolt wore makeup while running, would it enhance his performance, would it make him run faster? If Michael Phelps wore makeup while swimming, would he beat his previous time? I’m not an Olympian, so I can’t make this assumption, but I’m guessing that flipping three times in the air would be much more comfortable without foundation and a bold lip color. Maybe instead of talking about what they look like, you could talk about their athleticism and amazing performances.

One BBC commentator called the women’s judo final a catfight. Not only is this martial art a very serious sport, but these are Olympians who have devoted their lives to judo, and these comments are diminishing that. The use of the word catfight carries a connotation of two 10 year old girls fighting over a toy and is almost exclusively used for women, which isolates them from men.

An NBC commentator attributed swimmer Katinka Hosszú’s win to her husband. After she killed the world record in the 400m individual medley it was said that her husband was “the person responsible for her performance.” Actually, she is solely responsible for performing the way she did and having the physical and mental dedication that only an Olympian has.

Women’s sports is just as important as men’s and deserves the same respect and treatment. This age old stereotype of men being more athletic needs to end. Simone Biles said it best: “I’m not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps. I’m the first Simone Biles.”