I’ve seen the recent articles pop up about Britain’s Olympic minister Tessa Jowell calling for gender equality if London wins the bid for the 2012 Games. Did you know that 40 more events are offered for the men than the women at the Olympics? That’s 120 medals the women are not allowed to chase. This issue is of obvious interest to me, as it was only in 2008 that my event, the 3000m steeplechase, was added to the list of events for women. Guess who won the Trials in 2004 but couldn’t go because there was no steeple at Athens?
I’m not the only one affected by this. Women have been steepling since the 80’s with no final goal of making the Olympic Team being an option. The columnist at the link below echoes my exact sentiments on this issue, so I see no need to elaborate other than to say, to those who think, “How many women are going to want to wrestle at the Olympics anyway?” think again. If you build it, they will come. If you offer an event, they will train and they will focus and they will surprise you. They will chase that gold just like anyone else if you create the opportunity. Just ask the best steeplechasers in the world, who used to run the 5K or the 1500m or who used to not run at all. Ask Jenny Barringer, the second fastest indoor 5000m runner the U.S. has ever seen, and also the American Record holder in the steeplechase.
If you are still uncertain, then I have a question: “Why not?” Why can’t we offer the same events for women as men? Is there any reason other than that’s the way it’s always been?
Please read the below column by Barney Ronay of the UK’s The Guardian: