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May the best woman win

August 4, 2016

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It is a symbol of gender equality. When the Modern Olympic games started in Athens, there were no women participating. The one who came up with the idea to revive the games from oblivion opposed the idea of females competing alongside men. Four years later, however, they had to include women too.

Held in Paris as part of the 1900 World’s Fair, the most prestigious event brought together 997 participants of both sexes. The first 22 female Olympians could compete in just five sports: tennis, sailing, croquet, equestrian and golf, in addition only golf and tennis had events for women only. The sailor Hélène de Pourtalès became the first female Olympic champion. From then on, every game brought a stronger female presentation, yet it still took generations of woman athletes to bring changes. For instance, at the 1964 Games in Tokyo, just over 13%  competitors were women, rising to 23% twenty years later in Los Angeles. The last Games in London were the most balanced, with 44% female participation.

The progress was the legacy of the principle, adopted in 1991 and stating that any new sport to be added to the Olympics needed to have a women’s competition. However, it was only during the London Olympic Games that women were allowed to compete in all disciplines. Ironically, the last sport waiting for equality was boxing.

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From → Hic Salta

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