One of the unique things about the Olympics is it’s the closest thing we have in American culture to equality in coverage and fervor between men’s and women’s sports.
Famously in these games, there have been slip-ups in that regard.
An NBC executive said the largely female audience likes the storyline aspect of the Olympics as opposed to live coverage. A swimming announcer credited a woman’s husband as the “man responsible” for her breaking the world record.
Backwards headlines. Awkward tweets. Weird sexual comments, and the awful things said to gymnasts on social media.
Change doesn’t happen quickly, nor smoothly.
Black women are winning swimming golds. The most dominant basketball team at the games is the powerful American … women. The most dramatic memory I have so far is during the women’s 400 meters when Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas dove for gold.
Katie Ledecky, Simone Biles and Kerri Walsh Jennings are every bit the Olympic heroes as their male counterparts.
That was apparent late on Tuesday night as I saw Walsh Jennings and April Ross battle the powerful Brazilians in a wonderful volleyball semifinal match at Rio’s Copacabana Beach.
It was one of the coolest events I’ve ever been to, and I’ve seen the NBA Finals, the men’s World Cup and Bruce Springsteen in concert four times.
In the end, the Brazilians beat the mighty Americans, arousing the home crowd of raucous fans probably tired of Americans dominating the sporting spotlight and culture.
It seemed right, and even as a member of the traditionally dominant side, it was refreshing and satisfying to see.