Women’s Success in London Raises Hope for Rio Games

Selah Hennessy
LONDON — At the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, the president of the International Olympic Committee said this year's Games had proved to be a "major boost for gender equality". For the first time, women are competing in all 26 sports.

Ije Enwerem has been throwing the discus for four years. She's thought to be a contender for the next summer Olympics, in Rio, four years from now.

Being female, she says, has made her work harder. "No-one ever really pays attention to throwers, let alone to the women, so you always want to be as good as the men to prove that there is talent out there," she said.

Enwerem is one of a group of young athletes who went to a motivational talk in East London, where this year's Olympics are taking place.

The speaker was Teresa Edwards, a four-time Olympic champion in women's basketball and Team USA's chief of mission.

She says in the past women were shunned from the sporting world. "Participation was thought to kill us or to take us backwards or to threaten our abilities to have babies and things like that," she explained.  "That's where we have come from in the past. It's not about that anymore. We have definitely proven that fact."

But today women are competing in every Olympic sport. And many countries are sending more women than men to the Games.

Edwards says doors have been opened to female athletes that were often closed in the past.

It's progress, she says, but there are still some girls who are left behind. "It's sad to think that we live in a day and age that someone is actually telling a little girl that she can't participate in sport for whatever reason, I don't know what that would be," Edwards stated. "So all we have to do is continue to do what we do as female athletes -- our participation, be an example and a role model and hopefully they will follow and know that all is well."

For Enwerem, she says it's her female sports idols that keep her focused and will help her make it, she hopes, to the 2016 Games.
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Comment Sorting
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
August 13, 2012 6:30 AM
I didn't know that there remains countires where women are restricted to participate in athletic events. I hope sexual discriminations in sports would be swept away by the next Rio olympics 2016.

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