On Your Mark …

August 07, 2008

When I was 10, I watched Gail Devers win the gold in the women’s 100m sprint and thought I’d like to run. Track has always been my favorite Olympic sport, but it took me a long time to get into running myself.

With a little help from rugby training and a graduate school schedule that drove me to want to spend long hours alone, clearing my head, I have become something of a runner. As I train to complete my third marathon this fall, I find I’m extra excited for these Olympic Games, which kick off tomorrow (my personal opinions on the suitability of the host country and its gender testing aside).

I went up to Boston for the women’s marathon trials and watched a former classmate (American University ’03, but I didn’t know her) and an acquaintance compete for their shot on the team. Unfortunately, they didn’t make it, but I did get to see a phenomenal race that ended with my hero, women’s distance phenom, and bronze medalist in Athens, Deena Kastor, come from behind to win.

So yes, I’m obsessed with the marathon. But when you add up all that, the fact that the women’s marathon has only been an event for 24 years, Paula Radcliffe’s struggle to compete, and the emergence of Ryan Hall, can you blame me?

But this Olympics will have so much more to celebrate. Iraq will have a team. A 41-year-old woman will compete. Michael Phelps will go for eight golds.

And we at AAUW will again take this opportunity to celebrate Title IX and the fact that almost all athletes have the chance to compete on the world stage. What sports are you looking forward to? Who are your favorite athletes?

Let the Games begin!

Elizabeth Bolton By:   |   August 07, 2008

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