The Olympics, Equality and Women’s Sport


Punctuality isn’t our forte here at the Sportress, but I figure better late than never for my comments on International Women’s Day. As a mad sports lover, former very-average competitor and raging feminist, I’m probably more qualified than most.

Not to get shirty about my sisters, but nothing shits me more than women writing about lack of women in sport when they themselves openly declare they don’t like sport. Get on the team, sister.

I want to start with my favourite sporting highlights from a lifetime of watching sport – you’ll spot a theme and that’s on purpose.

  1. Amelie Mauresmo.

She’s a fucking gun and she would, if given the chance, beat any man to pulp. I ALMOST went for Andy “cry-baby” Murray at the recent Oz Open, purely because he was being coached by Mauresmo, yes a man being coached by a woman – I had to back that. I miss Mauresmo out on the court, along with Lindsay Davenport and even a bit of Martina Hingis. Those were the good old days.

  1. Cathy Freeman.

I was a young, growing and rather active 16 year old girl when she did what she did, and bless you Cathy, you shaped more than a nation, you shaped a generation of girls.

  1. Swimming.

Women are holding up the squad, team and the whole nation on the Olympic medal tally and don’t we know it. Bless Leisel Jones, Giaan Rooney and Susie O’Neill – their legacy lives on today in the next generation. Women also don’t happen to be the dickheads that the male side of the squad seems to have become.

  1. Torah Bright, snowboarding extraordinaire.

Shameless plug because I went to primary school with her and her coach / brother Ben Bright. Bless our little country town Cooma, we bat above our average in terms of Australian Olympic representatives.

  1. Rowing.

This is a lesser-known story about my sport of choice which I competed in for a few years, back in the day. The women I shared the change rooms with are some of the toughest and strongest (literally) women I know. In 2012, the rowing apparatchik decided to send a men’s VIII to the Olympics but NOT a women’s – and didn’t they live to regret that.

The women got organised, ran a successful media and internal campaign, and got approved to race in the final selection regatta before the Olympics. They smashed it in and made the cut to race in London.

Kimmy Crow is a better person than you.
Kimmy Crow is a better person than you.

So here’s some names you’ve probably never heard of, but you bloody should because they champions in their own right: Kimmy Crow (2x Olympic medalist, lawyer, Chair of the Australian Olympic Committee’s Athletes’ Commission), Sarah Tait (mother of two and Olympic medalist) and Kate Hornsey (Olympic medalist) and Robyn Selby Smith (3x world champion, lawyer, lead the charge for the women’s VIII to get selected for London)…the list goes on.

And because we like clips at Sportress, here’s Sarah and Kate sneaking in a silver medal from behind in the pair at London Olympics. Skip to 17:50 minute mark for last 500 metres of an amazing race.

Getting some bloody media attention, about time:

You can follow all the “Rowing Chicks” here:

And if you want a full list of Australian women Olympic medal winners, check this:

Spotted a theme yet? The Olympics is about the only time women get the spotlight in sport they deserve, but that only happens every four years. Until the crowds are going week in, week out to watch women’s sport over at the G, we’ve got a long way to go.

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