While the Olympics are meant to inspire national pride and friendly competition, the London 2012 Olympics have brought yet another reason to celebrate to the foreground: the phenomenon NBC has deemed the “Year of the Woman.”
The signs are everywhere – there are more women than men in the U.S. delegation, women will be participating in every sport for the first time ever and every single country has sent at least one female athlete.
For the United States, women athletes are getting some serious attention for their Olympic achievements – especially from their younger fans. As Chris Jansing of NBC notes, more and more teenage girls are watching the Olympics, and the festivities have brought on a surge of participation in sports activities among young girls.
As recent news would suggest, this new burst of athleticism inspired by the Olympics can do wonders for our mindsets as well as our health. Not only does the participation of women in sports such as weightlifting and archery help to dissolve the distinction between men’s and women’s activities, but these iron-pumping, javelin-throwing role models have the power to change the perception of what women should aspire to be.
Take Zoe Smith for example! As one of Britain’s best female weightlifters, Smith was subject to a barrage of comments questioning her sexuality and critiquing her for her down-to-earth wardrobe. Zoe responded to these criticisms on her blog, saying “To think people still think like this is laughable. We’re in 2012!” Zoe’s focus on accomplishing her goals, rather than on whether she looks “pretty” while accomplishing her goals, sends the message to her younger fans that women have so much more to strive for than what we see in the media every day.
So what lessons will these inspiring women instill in you? Make sure to catch the last weekend of the Olympics to find out!