Women athletes from different parts of the globe are garnering plenty of media attention during this year's Olympics. Some are calling 2012 the "year of the woman," partially because for the first time in history, both the US and Russian teams are majority-female. In addition, Saudi Arabia has sent its very first female pair of competitors to London (one who will compete in judo without a hajib!), while Malaysia actually has a female shooter who will compete while nine months pregnant!
A rather unfortunate development ticked off the North Korean women's soccer team--right before their match against Colombia, event organizers mistakenly displayed the North Korean players' introductions alongside the South Korean flag! The ladies from Pyongyang ended up beating Colombia 2-0--perhaps fueled by the embarrassing indiscretion.
While we're on the subject of embarrassing, this week Greece had to kick off triple jumper Voula Papachristou from the country's Olympic squad due to her racist African jokes published on Twitter. She has since apologized, but only after getting more defensive on the social network first. Hopefully she'll realize that her personal entertaining skills do not have much of a place in her role as representing Greece on the world stage!
Lastly, for now anyway, the US beach volleyball team will continue to wear their bikinis during games despite new rules that finally allow women to wear frumpy tees and shorts while playing. To them, like many Southern Californians, swimwear is simply more comfortable and not a big deal.
It's been a rough week in the States, and a rough economic few years for everyone internationally as well. Compounded with the presidential election coming up in a few months, US citizens have been busy reevaluating our social, political, medical, and educational systems. The Olympics will be a brief respite from all of this--plus a fun way to reconnect with our neighbors around the globe and see how they present their own athletes and cultures. And with the increasing inclusion of more women Olympians (um, finally?!), the worldwide celebration seems to be evolving into the relevant affair that it should be.