Finally, the last “No Girls Allowed” sign has been pulled down from the Summer Olympic games. August 13th, 2009: International Olympic Committee chair Jacques Rogge announced today that the 2012 London Olympics will be the first to feature women competing in every single sport.
Mr. Rogge said: “I can only rejoice about the decision to include women’s boxing in the Olympic Games. [Women’s boxing] is a great addition since boxing was the only summer Olympic sport without a female discipline. Women’s boxing has progressed a lot in the last five years and it is time to include them.”
The last five years, yes. But how about the last 105 years? Because 1904 was the last time women were allowed to showcase their boxing skills for the Olympics. It was a demonstration game, and afterward the sport went underground for women until the mid-1970s, when the first licenses began to be granted to women boxers.
Olympics minister Tessa Jowell said, “It will be a landmark moment come London 2012 when for the first time every sport will have women participating in it. There are still major disparities in the number of medals women can win compared to men but this is a step in the right direction.”
There will be three women’s weight classes (flyweight, lightweight, and middleweight) added, and one (light flyweight) of the 11 men’s weight classes will be dropped to make room.
I expect that in the next two years we’ll hear the same argument trotted out that has been holding women back for years now: it’s too dangerous. You’d think women were petitioning for the right to box at nine months pregnant while wearing glasses and high heels. You’d think no one ever watched women play field hockey, rugby, or even a muy-serious game of roundball. Sigh.
Here’s a couple of awesomely bad quotes for you, from the Telegraph, who, in fairness, published lots of positive quotes, too. But these were just too amazing not to repeat:
Sir Henry Cooper, retired heavyweight boxer: “I’m just old fashioned, but I don’t think women should box. Look at how Muhammad Ali has ended up.”
Hello? If this were the argument we were going with, we’d ban it for the men. Yeesh.
Bernard Hopkins, world champion: “I don’t think women should box period for health reasons due to the way the body is made…I do think a woman can do what a man can do. I just don’t think women can dominate everything a man can, and I don’t think that men can dominate what a woman can.”
Whaa? Um, was he talking about breasts in that first part? No wait! Menstruation, I bet that’s it. Dude, just think of it as extra padding! Sorry, couldn’t resist. And I had no luck deciphering the last bit of his quote. Leave me a comment if you get it at all.
Okay, just one more: BBC Sport reported this one from British world champion Amir Khan, who said, “Deep down I think women shouldn’t fight. That’s my opinion. When you get hit it’s very painful.”
Don’t worry, Mr. Khan. We won’t let the women hit you.
Well, that was fun, and now you should send this link to ten friends and celebrate with a toast: To the 2012 Summer Games!
Women boxers are the coolest chicks: ready, willing, and able.
Now let’s get to drinking — get your glasses off the table!
Image by Rick on Flickr