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Posts Tagged ‘Olympics’

I came across this interesting article in the New York Times. It turns out wrestling has been a growing sport for women for the last twenty years. Girls are walking out onto the mat everyday across America, standing up, and utilizing their right to wrestle. According to the article, Women Want to Wrestle; Small Colleges Oblige,

“The inclusion of women’s wrestling in the Olympics beginning in 2004 provided a huge boost to the sport’s popularity and credibility. Five thousand girls nationwide wrestled in high school in the 2006-7 academic year, yet only eight colleges offer it as a varsity sport. Three of those eight programs are starting this fall.”

The more girls that wrestle in high school, the more girls that want to wrestle in college, and the more girls that move on to compete in the Olympics. The sport is growing, and it would be a shame for the girls to be limited or shut out of competing, because their university or institution did not have a women’s wrestling program. Wrestling has been under attack by opposers of Title IX. Unfortunately, wrestling is a sport that regularly gets cut in order for colleges and institutions to comply with Title IX rules and regulations. One supporter of women’s rights to wrestle has a great solution to everyone’s problems! Joey’s Wrestling room is a page dedicated to women’s wrestling. In “History of Wrestling” he states,

“At the collegiate level women’s wrestling is an ideal choice for creating new opportunities for women. In fact, women’s wrestling fits the NCAA criteria for emerging sports programs. Many schools that support a men’s wrestling program are out of compliance with Title IX – and money is always a factor. Adding women’s wrestling to an athletic program can save the athletic budget alot of money. Think about it. The coaches, the equipment, and the facilities are all in place. All that is needed is singlets and travel expenses. Economically it is the smart choice.”

Pretty Tough has already started to highlight the immerging sport of women’s wrestling. In a blog posted she states some of the facts about the sport:

  • “About 4000 girls wrestle at the high school level in the U.S. (compared to 239,000 boys), according to the USA Wrestling Association.
  • High school girls’ wrestling has only been sanctioned in two states: Hawaii and Texas (both since 1999).
  • Until girls’ wrestling teams are numerous enough to get state sanctioning, girls have to compete at informal divisions or meets instead of state tournaments�or compete against boys. In 2005, there were 17 girls who qualified for boys’ high school state tournaments around the country, and six of those girls placed.
  • The U.S. Girls Wrestling Association claims to be the future of the sport. They provide information of USGWA tournaments and events, as well as a discussion forum for female wrestlers and coaches.”
  • Hopefully in the next couple of years we will begin to see an increase in women’s wrestling and less cutbacks of men’s programs. After a highly publicized summer Olympics I don’t recall any coverage of women’s wrestling. Guess we have a ways to go.

    CORREECTION: (by Megan Hueter)

    Wrestling has not been under attack of the opposers of Title IX. The only thing that COULD BE criticized by wrestling coaches is the opportunity for women’s wrestling to be classified as an “emerging sport.” Wrestling has not made the NCAA’s seven-sport list to be classified as “emerging,” so there is really no argument here.

    Above, when I saw “wrestling coaches,” I am not referring to ALL wrestling coaches. I am referring to some (and it is coming directly from the New York Times),

    “Dozens of men’s teams have been eliminated over the past three decades, a phenomenon many coaches attribute to Title IX.”

    As you can see, it’s clear they are critics of the law. However, it’s not Title IX that has eliminated those programs. It’s the institutions and their decisions to distribute funds to other men’s programs which they may deem more valuable. (which is unfortunate)

    Also, to note, it’s not Title IX that is not allowing women’s wrestling to be classified as an emerging sport. It’s the NCAA. The problem is not with the law (it’s a good law that has created millions of opportunities for female athletes). The problem is with the institutions that govern the law and the politics that surround those decisions. It’s unfortunate for men AND women (sometimes) that this is the case.

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    With the European Table Tennis championships having occurred in St.Petersburg, Russia  yesterday, I thought it’d be fitting to post a YouTube video I found on the sport, titled, “A Tribute to Women’s Table Tennis.”

    I’ve never seen pro women’s table tennis before. I know it existed in the Olympics, but never was able to catch it live on television.

    Looking at this video, I think it’s safe to say that this is a cool sport and these women are far more than simply talented.

    Check it out:

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    Right off the plane from willing the Olympic Gold Medal Beijing’s Volleyball championship, Misty May-Treanor was enrolled in Dancing With the Stars. She debuted this week. Check out this video on YouTube:

    Her participation in Dancing With the Stars shows that popular culture is valuing the contribution that May-Treanor and Walsh have made upon our society. It’s really exciting to see her out there. It’s also exciting that May-Treanor can be seen as Pretty and Tough at the same time.

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    Only two things can get 150 U.S. Olympic stars in one city at one time: the actual Olympics, and, of course, the most powerful woman in the world: Oprah.

    Oprah’s season premier couldn’t have been staged any better as she called for the country’s greatest athletes together for a “welcome home” celebration on her show in Chicago. Supposedly, the spectacle drew a crowd that stretched around nearly six city blocks.

    Accourding to Pretty Tough, Oprah welcomed gold medalists Nastia Liukin, Misty May-Treanor & Kerri Walsh, Lisa Leslie, Candace Parker and members of the gold medal Women’s Basketball Team, cyclist Kristin Armstrong and fencer Mariel Zagunis. Also, silver medalist Jennie Finch & members of the Women’s Olympic Softball Team, the silver medal Women’s Water Polo Team, and more.

    The show is said to air on Monday.

    Check out this AP story for more information:

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    I Tivo’d this episode of Ellen last night to catch Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh. Found it on YouTube today.

    Something I find particularly interesting is our culture’s obsession with them wearing baithing suits (barely nothing). And Ellen makes a point to bring up that Kerri smacks Misty May on the butt when they do well.

    Is that really what people are interested in?

    Regardless, Ellen is hilarious, and this is a cute feature. Enjoy!

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    Yesterday morning, Erin Donohue ran in a big, BIG race: the 1500m qualifier. Maybe it was all the hype, maybe it was all the attention, or maybe she just wanted it too much. Regardless, her Olympic performance ended on the track in Beijing yesterday, as she finished eighth. She needed to be in the top three to advance.

    After the race, it was clear that she was disappointed. As reported in the Baxter Bulletin,

    “I really wanted to perform well here. Maybe that was part of the problem,” she said. “I really wanted it bad.”

    She was in the top four, on the rail, but didn’t close as planned. She collided with Kenya’s Viola Kibiwott in the home straightaway. However, these type of things are to be expected.

    At 5-foot-7 and 143 punds, Donohue is bigger than most other milers, so she said she doesn’t mind physical races.

    She said,

    “You can’t be surprised when all these girls come up on you,” Donohue said. “You’ve got to be ready to get out and go. I didn’t have it to go. Maybe I’m not as fit as I thought I was.“

    Donohue will stay in Beijing until Sunday, but only for closing ceremonies. I think it’s important for Erin (and the rest of NJ) to focus on what’s important –  not winning. but taking part.

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    I just heard some shocking news… USA softball LOST to Japan, 3-1 today. Japan took gold; USA took silver.

    This is the first lost for USA softball since January 2000. According to an article I read on Newser, this is the sport’s last appearance in the Olympics for at least 8 years. The Americans’ dominance was part of the reason the International Olympic Committee decided to drop the sport from future Games.

    I think now maybe the IOC should reconsider their decision. Seems like this sport can be won by even the littlest of countries, which makes it great to watch.

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    Just saw it a few minutes ago… in the pouring rain in Beijing, May-Treanor and Walsh clinched the gold, defeating China.

    This the 108th straight match won by the duo and Walsh’s 100th career victory, May-Treanor’s 103rd. What an incredible run, as repeat champs who remain to be… the best in the world.

    May-Treanor and Walsh continue to bring some much-needed attention to a sport that often goes overlooked, until today.

    Source: LA Times

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    I came across this on the PostSecret Myspace blog and thought I’d share it with everyone. It made me laugh.

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    Below is an article that my mom sent me from Haddonfield Online, a Web site dedicated to what’s going on in Haddonfield, NJ (I know, exciitng, right?)

    If you didn’t already see from my previous post, Erin Donohue is from my hometown, and she competing in the women’s 1500-m race this week. You can see her Olympic profile here.

    Anyway, I thought this was actually well-written. Not surprisingly, there is a Rocky Balboa reference (so typical for South Jersey). I think maybe the townies are going a little bit overboard with singing her praises (I was told that they practically threw her a parade), but still, it is exciting to see someone from a small town achieve something so great.

    Take a look at this article (written by Christian Giudice of Haddonfield Online)

    “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place. It will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me or nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit, it is about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much can you take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! ” Rocky Balboa

    Hyperbole, overstatement, guilty as charged. But the analogy is so inviting.

    As Haddonfield Memorial High School product Erin Donohue takes the track on Thursday (August 21) between 7am and 7:20am (EDT time)* in a heat of the Women’s 1500M, the Rocky storyline presents itself: gutty local hero and underdog fighting her way up the ranks (insert Donohue), running the cold, lonely streets of Philly when no one’s around (C’mon Rock), a crafty trainer who taught her the ropes and changed her style (John Cook as Mickey), and the controversy surrounding the Russian super power (Yelena Soboleva as Ivan Drago suspended for drug tampering).

    It’s all there.

    You see where I am headed with the underdog theme. Unfortunately in Beijing, there’s not just one Drago, but add a couple Apollo Creeds, Clubber Langs and very few Spider Rekos.

    Judging by times alone (4:05:55 her personal best), conventional wisdom suggests that Donohue, the runner, isn’t worthy of medal contention; yet, times have nothing to do with Donohue, the competitor. By the time the field is whittled down and the final comes around in less than a week (Aug. 23), something tells me that despite the punishment, Donohue will still be standing.

    Getting ahead of myself, probably. I won’t take in to account that Bahrain’s Myriam Yusuf Jamal ran a 3:59 in Europe this year already or that Donohue’s college rival, Duke’s Shannon Rowbury nearly matched that time in the same race. University of Arkansas product Christin Wurth-Thomas also eclipsed Donohue’s personal best with a 4:05:00.

    Please don’t remind me that oddsmakers believe Donohue to be little more than a burgeoning pimple on the face of the 1500 women’s field. There’s no chance I’ll even mention the lack of experience or the nerves that deter any young athlete on such a grand stage.

    I know little about the fierce Bahrain champ or the capability of Rowbury, and I have never heard of the three Russian girls who were banned from the Olympics before it began. What I do know is that since 2005, Donohue has cut nearly 30 seconds off her 1,500 time.

    What I do know is that Donohue will casually pat you on the back before the race, wish you well, wait patiently for the race to develop, and she will fight, scrap and claw her way to position, using every trick in her running repertoire to mentally and physically ravage you. Those athletes, like Donohue, with nothing to lose are often the most dangerous. She doesn’t have significant weight pulling her down, or media members following every step; unlike others she can just focus on the race.

    If I were only leading with my heart on this one, Donohue is headed to the final round. But it’s more than that, because everything I’ve witnessed about her as a competitor tells me to disregard times and previous matchups.

    Maybe I’m being a naïve outsider looking in on a sport that determines its winners solely by times and favorites, but Donohue doesn’t discourage easily. As a sports journalist, I have fallen prey to that miracle curse that we all suffer from. I believe in Erin Donohue, and that among the world’s monstrous athletes, she is merely a small-town fighter struggling to, and will be heard.

    She’s Rocky Balboa in running shoes swinging haymakers and hooks. When no one expects anything out of an athlete like Donohue, that’s when she counters.

    By the final – 7:50am on Saturday (EDT) – the world will finally see what she’s made of.

    —– Please note that the date/time of her race in this article are wrong. On Thursday, August 21 at 7am (Haddonfield time), the first of two heats will be run. The second heat will start 7:10am. Each heat will have up to 18 runners. The Start List has not been posted, so it is not yet known officially which heat Erin will run in. It is also not known how many runners from each heat will advance to the final, but it is believed that several other runners with the next fastest times will advance also. The final will take place on Saturday, August 23 at 7:50am (Haddonfield time).

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