Olympic Women in the Media

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THE WOMEN OF THE OLYMPICS1

The Women of the Olympics
Taylor Foster

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The Olympics. Known today as 17 days of glorious competition between the world’s best athletes. These events often produce feelings of nationalism and social equality as the globe in bound together as we watch the most televised variety of live sporting events in history. When victory for one athlete is interpreted as a victory for an entire country. But if we look closely at these individuals and games we can accurately depict a divide within this coverage. This divide represents a competition that is not an Olympic game, but a societal struggle for equality, women’s rights. The struggle for women's rights within the world has been an endless battle for equal recognition across all fields of the workforce. This ongoing battle is evident within the confides of sports journalism as female athletes are stereotyped as weak and less appealing to viewers, specifically during the Olympic Games, thus receiving limited air time highlighting their athletic feats. Though female athletes are actively growing faster, harder, and more professional than ever in the sports field they continue to struggle for consistent and long-term coverage. When female athletes do appear in sports journalism, their image is framed with sexualized messages leading to a less reportable illustration for female sports. To understand women and their Olympic media coverage we must first trace through the journey of female’s participation in sport and their entrance into The Games. While the date of the first games is debatable, the first recorded evidence of organized games as form as a peace treaty were held in 776 B.C. within the Greek plains of Olympia. Dedicated to the Greek God Zeus, men athletes from around the city-states of Greece participated in rounds of foot races. Because of the nature of sport and nudity of the games the majority of women, particularly

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