There is an interesting article in Outside Magazine online penned by Sally Bergesen, founder of Oiselle, the Seattle-based women’s athletic apparel company, asking where are the female equivalents of the sub-four minute mile or the sub-two hour marathon? (Article)

“How are our own benchmarks so unfamiliar?” she asks rhetorically.

Her conclusion, in part, is that “the dearth of women’s milestones and tradition is a result of our relatively recent entry into competitive sports.”

I wouldn’t disagree with that assessment, but perhaps in that understanding there is another way to look at the underlying question.

What if there have already been such women barrier breakers, but since women’s athletics have only in recent times come into the spotlight, we missed them in their own day? Continue reading


Olympic Flame Out

Now that the Olympic flame has been extinguished in London, the time has come to consider the lessons learned and to plot the road ahead.  Certainly, Team U.S. A.’s track and field medal haul of 29 deserves high praise, especially given the wide swatch they cut through all disciplines and distances, sprints to distance, throws to jumps.  On the far side of the track there was the modest number of distance-only medals returning to Kenya (11) based on their own high expectations.  But both those evaluations and interests are parochial in nature.  What of the overall place of Athletics (track & field) in the Olympic movement going forward, especially to Rio in 2016?

Red flags should have been raised in Beijing 2008 when NBC lobbied the IOC to move track out of the primetime viewing slot in the U.S. so they could show more swimming and gymnastics live.  And this favoring of less-martial,more female-oriented sports was in even greater evidence in London.  Not only did Ryan Seacrest make his Olympic debut, but with women making up more than 50% of the U.S. Olympic team for the first time, the interest in fashion and glitter hit an all-time high.  So what comes to my mind is the question of track’s relevance within those new parameters.  Continue reading