I've always loved the Olympics. I remember begging my parents to let me stay up late and watch them. Before Twitter and Facebook, you HAD to stay up late to see who would win! Ah, the good old days. :)
What impresses me most about Olympic athletes is their unwavering ability to stay focused with all the stressors and distractions in life. Now that some of my very impressive friends have represented their countries in Rio, I saw firsthand the sacrifices and hardship they put into achieving their Olympic dreams. Lives outside of sport were on hold. Careers, relationships, friendships, family parties, weddings -- everything -- takes a back seat to the dream. If any of those amazing parts of life fit into the balance of training, racing and traveling 6-9 months of the year, it's just an extra special moment in the journey.
Striving for excellence takes passion, drive, whit, intelligence and lots of support from the athletes' village.
All of that said, I can't understand why gender discrimination still occurs in 2016. When both men and women dedicate their lives to achieving greatness and sometimes earning medals for their country, the governing bodies should oblige them with equality.
I was fortunate to speak with Kevin Helliker about it for his article in the Wall Street Journal . He and his colleauge, Matthew Futterman, brought the issue to light in the front-page piece published the day after the opening ceremonies.
There are 98 comments.
Most of them are sexist, political and inappropriate. However, maybe the comment sections show the root of our inequality problem. Our society allows it, and a majority of people seem to find it acceptable.
I just hope that our next generation continues to push gender barriers. Wouldn't it be incredible to see what athletes could achieve with more opportunity, when athletes from less mainstream sports are able to compete? I was stoked to see that the IOC just approved 5 more sports for 2020. And I'm not the only cyclist who wishes cyclocross were added to that list.
I hope we can continue to push down gender barriers in sport so that girls 20 years from now can dream dreams we can't even imagine today!