With the Olympic flame extinguished in Rio de Janeiro, the world bids farewell to the 2016 games.
It also says goodbye to some of the greatest athletes to have ever graced the Olympic games — Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt. Although, if you ask me, I think we’ll see one, if not both, of them again in 2020 at Tokyo. (But that’s a story for another time.)
Speaking of the future, the women of Team USA have shattered many more glass ceilings, while setting a gold standard moving forward. They have become an example for the rest of the world, who needs to catch up to them.
The United States boasted the largest Olympic roster with 554 members, and for the second straight time, the women (291) outnumbered the men (263).
The women took home more medals (61 vs. 55) overall, but also combined for 27 of Team USA’s 46 golds.
If the U.S. women were their own country, it would tie the entirety of Team Britain for most gold medals in this year’s Olympics. This domination and level of accomplishment is unrivaled by the female athletes in other countries, let alone some of the men.
This all seemed unimaginable many years ago.
In 1972, Team USA’s male athletes tripled the amount of medals women brought home. In today’s games, you have gold medalists like Simone Biles in gymnastics and Allyson Felix in track and field. Back then, Team USA gymnastics couldn’t find the podium and had no gold medals came from the race track.
However, that same year, Congress passed Title IX. The act prevented any discrimination based on gender in regards to education programs and institutions that receive federal funding. Although Title IX covers various facets of gender equality and discrimination, it changed the face of athletics moving forward. Female participation in sports skyrocketed as a result and 44 years later, the country is reaping its benefits. (more…)