By: Shireen AHMED
These Olympic Games have been hailed a success and triumph for women in sports. For the first time, every participating country has entered females athletes, including Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia.
During the last 2 weeks, women’s sporting events have capture the hearts of fans all over the world like Gabby Douglas ; embodied the love of a country as did Jessica Ennis and have been swept up in the disappointment of a lifetime Canada Women’s National Soccer Team.
Many have declared that London 2012 were the “Women’s Games”. The United States won a total of 104 medals. More than half of those were earned by the female athletes. Canada’s lone gold medal was won by Rosie McLennan in the trampoline event.
These games saw over 70,000 fans in Wembley Stadium watching women’s football finals; sold out gymnasiums to see riveting volleyball matches; athletic events memerizing miliions of people. Television ratings through the roof thanks to savvy social media technology and the most wired Games yet.
Women of colour and various backgrounds have represented their homelands with joy, trepidation and passion.
As an avid footballer and fan, I was elated to see the Women’s events getting positive press and as much attention that the Men’s events are accustomed to. Looking forward to more possibilities and the opportunities for Women’s professional football in North America.
As the saying goes: “Citius, Altius, Fortius”, right?
More than enough excitement to inspire young women all over the world, right? Wrong.
Even in the height of glory for women who are competing in events where no discrimination may be made on basis of gender, colour, creed, religion, sexual orientation, there is always room for venom.
Many young women and USA National Women’s Soccer Team (USWNT) supporters took to twitter to express their happiness August 9th, after the USWNT played an amazing final to beat Japan -current Women’s World Cup Champions- 2 to1 for the Gold medal.
In a move that can only be called exponentially ignorant, fans declared the USA’s historic win “payback for Pearl Harbor“, a likeness to the slaughter of Hiroshima. Some are quoted using derogatory slurs and other professing their disdain for “Asians”.
Coincidentally, the final match was played on the 67th Anniversary of the Nagasaki and Hiroshima tragedies.
The Japanese team lit candles prior to the game in honour of the victims.
Hiroshima was the first nuclear holocaust unleashed on the Japanese by the Americans. Nagasaki was bombed 3 days later. The effects were devastating for an entire generation. It is a sad piece of history.
Moving forward will all competitions ( athletic, academic or otherwise) between USA and Japan compared to horrific events from the last century? Events that lead to the deaths of thousands of innocent people. Insulting and
More frustrating was the scathing and hateful comments were posted from what appeared to be mostly young women.
The US women’s team working tirelessly as a group of dedicated and highly skilled footballers, with good sportswomanship against another talented team, should have been an example for young women to learn grace and dignity in competition- not eschew kindness and compassion.
This may also reflect badly on the team itself. As new celebrities, they are role-models of positivity, hard-work and integrity. Our daughters, sisters look up to them. They learn from their attitudes, interviews and opinions.
The USA Women’s National Team should have issued a statement publicly denouncing such tweets. Most of the star players have active twitter accounts: @abbywambach, @mPinoe, @alexmorgan13, @hopesolo
Perhaps, it is not in their mandate to get involved in these types of issues. But it would have been a goodwill gesture towards their Japanese counterparts.
These superb athletes have no interest in casting dark clouds over a joyous event. To congratulate them in this manner is insulting as well. Not in the spirit they intended to succeed.
These nasty remarks are being used to congratulate the team in an event that had no political agenda whatsoever.
Moreover, the mutual respect between these two great football teams is put on the back-burner so fans can come up with a witty comment in less than 140 characters.
Will this lesson of solidarity in women’s achievements ever be learned? As soon as there is a place, there will be offensive comments by other women.
These “fans” may not be the typical hooligans, looting and causing public disruption but they are equally as poisonous to society.
No honour among bigots.
Not only did it offend a great country of resilient people, who are still recovering from the devastating earthquake of 2011, it also provided a forum for hatred to take over the spirit of tolerance and friendship the Games are expected to espouse.
Historically, many countries have been at odds politically throughout the duration of the games, but Japan and the United Stated are not currently at war. Unless I missed the memo or overlooked the tweet. There is no justification for such stupidity.
There is no room for pride and arrogance in a world where women are aiming to go forth in sport together.
This isn’t solidarity for fellow sisters, it’s an atom bomb of hate.