Did you know that women weren’t allowed to compete in the Olympics until 1900? That year, only 22 female athletes competed in the Aris Olympics, and Hélène de Pourtalès of Switzerland became the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal.
It’s interesting how times have changed. Women have made massive waves on all fronts to prove their worth. Let’s take a look at how women have made progress at the Olympics since 1900!
Tokyo Olympics 2020
This year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympics was pretty historic. American women not only competed but also won 60 percent of the country’s gold medals. Additionally, 49% of Olympics participants were women of all ages, including 66-year-old Australian equestrian grandmother, Mary Hanna.
The International Olympic Committee hailed the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games stadium as the “first Games in history with gender parity”. On that note, here are some inspiring stories from female athletes from the Tokyo Olympics.
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The female athletes of the Tokyo Olympics who made history
Simone Biles has withdrawn from competition due to mental health issues.
The story of Simon Biles has definitely struck a chord among all the inspiring stories of female athletes from the Tokyo Olympics. It is not easy to be an athlete. In fact, Simon Biles has proven that even athletes are not free from mental health issues.
It was shocking when Biles announced his retirement from the team event and the individual artistic gymnasts event from the Tokyo Olympics. Citing mental health as the reason for her withdrawal, Biles spoke of the difficulties she had faced. Biles said she needs to focus on her sanity and focus on competing.
Simon Biles said that as mental health became more prevalent in sports, she needed to protect her mind and body instead of going out and doing what was expected of her.
A truly inspiring story, Simon Biles shows the world that the self is always a priority. Nonetheless, she returned to competition scoring a bronze medal and becoming the only second American gymnast to achieve the feat of 7 Olympic medals in gymnastics.
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Hidilyn Diaz becomes Philippines’ first gold medalist
30-year-old weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz became the Philippines’ first Olympic gold medalist. She won in the women’s 55 kg category and stopped China’s bid for the perfect score at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Hidilyn Diaz’s victory is huge for Asian representation in sports, and especially at the Olympics. Diaz didn’t just win gold. She set an Olympic record. Diaz had previously won a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics, also his country’s first appearance.
Diaz explained how she was stuck in Malaysia for 5 months due to COVID-19 travel bans, and all gyms were closed during the lockdown. This forced Diaz to build his gym using large water bottles and tying them to a bamboo pole.
Diaz’s story is a testament to creativity and genius. She set an example for all female athletes around the world. She will be remembered forever in the Philippines as it was the first time the country had heard her national anthem performed on the Olympic stage.
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Kimia Alizadeh took a stand against her own country
At the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016, Kimia Alizadeh became the first Iranian to win an Olympic medal for her country. She won a bronze medal in taekwondo. However, after her landmark achievement in Rio De Janeiro in 2016, she fled what she saw as an oppressive Iranian government trying to suppress its citizens.
After defecting to Germany, she had hoped to compete in the Olympic Games in January 2020. Unfortunately, not enough time had passed for her to obtain citizenship. Fortunately, delays due to COVID-19 allowed him to join the refugee team and compete in the Olympics.
This year, Alizadeh won his first game against Iranian Nahid Kiyani Chandeh. Although she didn’t win a medal this year, Kimia Alizadeh took a stand against her former country and stood up for what she believed in.
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Indian women’s hockey team made history
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics was a year to remember for Indian athletes, but especially for Adidas female athletes. The Indian women’s hockey team beat the seemingly undefeated Australian team to reach the semi-finals.
Before that, Team India’s best result was in 1980 when they made their debut in Moscow and ended up in fourth position among 6 competing teams.
This year, all the players on the team have surpassed themselves and reached the horizons. The decisive blow came when defender Gurjit Kaur scored a winning goal from a penalty kick, just in the 22nd minute of the game.
India scored their best deserved medal total in Olympic Games history. Of course, this is just the start for the Indian women’s hockey team.
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Allyson Felix Redefined Motherhood at Tokyo 2020 Olympics Stadium
Allyson Felix may be known as the most famous track Olympian in American history, but she’s also an advocate for mothers around the world. Felix shattered decades of patriarchal notions and proved that women can be great mothers while fighting to pursue their dreams.
Felix didn’t just come off the scene with a record 11th medal, and eclipsed Carl Lewis as America’s most decorated track athlete. She has also partnered with the Women’s Sports Foundation and several sportswear companies to facilitate a grant program for female athletes who are also mothers. This grant will cover the cost of childcare.
That’s not all. Félix inspired mothers and made them believe that motherhood is not an obstacle to achieving her goals.
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If there’s one important takeaway from this year’s Olympics, it’s that women can do it all. Go girls !