Katie Ledecky Feels the Sting of a First Olympic Loss

By the time the first modern Olympic Games kicked out on April 6, 1896, it had been a thousand years since the last Olympiad, which took place on the Peloponnese Peninsula in the fourth century A.D. Four years later, in 1900, the modern Olympic Games welcomed the first female competitors in tennis, sailing, croquet, equestrianism, and golf.

Over half (49%) of all Olympians at the most recent summer games were women. Women have been competing in the Olympics for almost a century, but many of the sports that their male counterparts have been competing in for decades were not added until lately.

Katie Ledecky Feels the Sting of a First Olympic Loss

Though men’s ski jumping has been a part of the Olympics since 1924, women’s ski jumping was first added in 2014. Title IX, the federal rule that prohibits discrimination based on gender in schools and universities, is often cited as a driving force behind the increasing number of women participating in sports.

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Women from the United States

The  Women from the United States won 66 medals, or 58.4 percent of the total American tally, helping the country to a first-place finish in the medal tally.

Historically speaking, male athletes in the United States have received less attention from the media than their female counterparts. This is clear when comparing the coverage given to male and female athletes who fail to place or win in the United States.

Ledecky, who had just won a silver medal for her sprint, began explaining what had happened after the race and gave respect to Titmus for a fantastic performance: “I could see her, and I knew she wasn’t fading…

The final 50 Metres went by quickly for me. It was merely that her final fifty yards were blisteringly quick. As though being the most decorated woman in swimming history and winning a silver medal was a time of enormous let down, the Los Angeles Times reported that Ledecky had to “settle for Silver.”

The fact that she was placed among the world’s best while losing her first Olympic race was certainly newsworthy.

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You can see the parallels in the NPR piece “U.S. Baseball Team Loses to Japan, but It Still Has a Tight Path to Gold Medal Game,” on the American men’s baseball team’s loss to Japan in the gold medal round.

Female athletes should not have to settle for being underappreciated because of gender stereotypes while male athletes continue to be praised for their untapped potential. It’s unfair to judge a woman’s athletic prowess on the basis of her gender and a man’s on the basis of their ability.