Making me feel all warm and fuzzy and motivated to kick butt this week: The Olympics. For one thing, now that they’re done and no longer on TV every night, I now have several hours of free time per week to fill with workouts. More importantly, though, I’m super-motivated by the fact that for the first time ever, the U.S. sent more women than men to the Olympics, and that U.S. women claimed almost twice as many gold medals (29) as their male counterparts (17) (source: Reuters).
What does that mean? espnW (which is a terrific effort to provide coverage of women’s sports, by the way) ran a story on its site examining the likelihood of this most recent Olympic success leading to more professional athletic leagues for women.
That would be terrific, but I’m hoping for micro effects as well as macro. I’m hopeful the latest crop of kick-ass female Olympians will lead the charge toward greater acceptance of strength and ferocity among women athletes of all calibers; that girls won’t wrinkle their noses and complain about not wanting to “bulk up” when their high-school coaches suggest weight training to supplement their sports. I’m hoping that watching women with bodies as diverse as Missy Franklin, the 6-foot-1 swimmer who’s proud of her size 13 feet, and Gabby Douglas, the diminutive gymnast, achieve athletic greatness will help girls struggling to accept their own bodies focus more on how their bodies perform than on how they look.
OK, stepping down off the soapbox now. In closing, I’d like to share once more the awesome Nike ad that got me all fired up about the Olympics–specifically the women’s side of it (getting me excited about the men’s side: Ryan Lochte. But that’s another story … ). I know you’ve all probably seen it by now. But be honest: Are you sick of it yet? Yeah, me neither.