Women Athletes Are Being Undercut by Olympic Coverage


Somebody get NBC a gold medal for sexism...

The Short of It:

This year's Rio Olympics is packed with girl power. According to the International Olympic Committee 45 percent of the athletes will be women. That's up by more than 2 times the number of female competitors who competed 40 years ago in the 1976 Olympics. This year proves the game is dramatically changing for women who have worked hard to be included in the world of athletics, but this year's bunch of female competitors still face the uphill battle that is equal gender representation as they endure sexist stereotypes by commentators and viewers with antiquated views.

Example 1:

Behind Every Great Female Athlete There's A Great Man


Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszú slayed at the Olympic swimming game when she won a gold medal in the women's 400-meter individual medley and crushed a world record Saturday. But, Hosszú 's performance was cut by NBC who split screened shots of her win with her husband, Shane Tusup, and soon after cut to him cheering her on. NBC Olympics swimming commentator Dan Hicks noted in his coverage "and there's the person responsible for her performance."

To sum it up: Hosszú who practices in the pool daily and swam in the actual race that she won, got cut by a man who gave all of her glory to a man who didn't swim the race.

It's a comment that's becomes even more unsettling for those who are aware of the abusive nature of Hosszú's husband that has been observed by her teammates.

The Chicago Tribune also got this one wrong when they tweeted a picture of two-time Olympic medalist Corey Cogdell-Unrein and dropped her name for her husband's. In their tweet about the American trapshooter, the newspaper cut Cogdell-Unrein from their headline in an announcement about her win.

Twitter.com/ @LauraKeeney/ @chiagotribune

To sum it up: The Chicago Tribune, just like Chicago Bears fans, can't win.

Girls Love Shopping

The powerhouse that is the US women's gymnastics team also got cut by NBC in a single felled comment on Sunday when a commentator observed the women laughing and gathered together after annihilating qualifying rounds. Of the team, the commentator observed that the women "might as well be standing in the middle of a mall."

To sum it up: This commentator thought that team of US women Olympians probably would have been just as happy at killing it at the Olympics as they would have if they'd just struck gold at a Macy's one day sale. Right.

Forget Gold Medals Get These Girls a Rose...


When NBC announced that they would't be airing the opening ceremony live, network executives worked to offer up a reasonable explanation and landed on this gem: "The people who watch the Olympics are not particularly sports fans... More women watch the Games than men, and for the women, they're less interested in the result and more interested in the journey." The quote belongs to John Miller, the network's chief marketing officer, who mansplained women's preferences.

He went on to further explain that they were more focused on delivering a mashup of reality TV and mini-series to women. You know, 'cause that's what we really like.

Note: this weekend revealed the lowest ratings for a summer Olympic opening ceremony in the US since the games of 1992.

The Takeaway:

Despite all of the sweat and blood that has been put into the training of these female athletes, so many of them are having their accomplishments stolen from them with simpleminded comments of news reporters. You know, the ones that are supposed to be well trained, unbiased and informed? The husbands of these women, and the things they enjoy doing outside of their training aren't at all relevant to their accomplishments.