Enjoying the Olympics?

11 Aug

I am.

If you are, too, I invite you to take a moment to appreciate Title IX for helping to make the Olympics even more competitive (and, in some cases, medal-tastic) for US athletes and their fans. That’s Title IX, aka the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act, which states that:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance…

The effects of Title IX are strikingly apparent in women’s soccer: according to a team alum, Title IX got girls and women in the US playing soccer well before women in countries where (men’s) soccer has a much longer, more competitive history. As a consequence, programs in the US got bigger and better earlier, producing stronger and more robust female players, who have catapulted the US to the top of the sport.

The legacy of Title IX doesn’t end there. According to the LA Times, “Female athletes have won 56% of Team USA’s medals and 66% of its golds, both all-time bests” (http://www.latimes.com/sports/olympics/la-sp-oly-us-women-20120812,0,1752342.story). Including a new world record in the women’s 4 x 100 relay. Truly Must See TV.

And it’s not just women who have benefited: remember, Title IX prohibits discrimination “on the basis of sex”–not the basis of estrogen. Consider men’s gymnastics, field hockey and lacrosse (although lacrosse is no longer an Olympic event). We’d have less women and men to ooh and aah at without the good work of Representative Mink.

Thanks, Pats.

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