100 years ago, Women’s Olympic Games became reality – 03/24/2021

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Women’s Olympic Games became a reality 100 years ago – in March 1921, women from five countries played the first women’s games in Monte Carlo. A century later, Alice Miliot, a pioneer and competition enthusiast, is honored in Paris. Women in Olympics? Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic Games, said, “Practical, uninterrupted, clumsy and, I hesitate to add, unreasonable.” The role of women in sports was written in 1912 by the French Baron, mainly consisting of the “crown of winners”.

At the time, only a few athletes were allowed to compete – and only in sports that were then considered suitable for women in higher social circles: tennis, golf, rowing, archery and figure skating.

But Di Kabertin did not have his stubborn countryman Alice Milliat, a sports enthusiast who also fought for women’s equality in sports. In 1919 Milliat asked the International Athletics Federation (IAAF) to allow women to compete in the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp. The IAAF refused.

Pioneers of five countries

“I came in front of a huge wall of protest, which directly established the Women’s Olympic Games,” Milliat would later recall. The French held competitions at Monte Carlo’s shooting range from 24 to 31 March 1921. Around 100 female athletes from five countries – France, United Kingdom, Italy, Norway and Switzerland – participated mainly in athletics.

In October 1921, the International Women’s Sports Federation (FSFI) was established, with Miliaat as president. For the next two years, FSFI repeated the event in Monaco and also launched the Women’s World Games, which were first held in Paris in 1922.

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Man in charge

The effect of the constant pressure exerted by the FSFI was: At the 1928 Olympic Games, athletes were allowed to compete for the first time, even if only in five sports.

Sports historian Annette Hoffmann told DWAF that IAAF sports officials and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have feared losing control of the world game due to women’s competition. “To avoid this loss of strength, women’s competitions should be allowed. [as autoridades esportivas] It can decide which sports and subjects are considered acceptable for women. “

Hoffman says that Milliet’s “libertarian thinking” has been suppressed by the unions, who are professors at the Ludwigsburg University of Education. “From now on, male employees once again controlled the development of women’s sports.”

Researchers wonder how women’s development would have happened if women’s sports had been independent and the FSFI had not disbanded in 1936 under the pressure of the IOC. “Will there be a female participation in the marathon [olímpica desde 1984]In wrestling [2004], No box [2012] Or ski jump [2014] Women became Olympic before Olympic Games? Or did women never get a chance to develop their game? “

Posthumous tribute

Alice Milliyat died in 1957 at the age of 73. Since the beginning of March, a sculpture in France’s National Olympic Committee building in Paris, commemorates the pioneer of the women’s game. The statue was opened at a ceremony on 8 March, marking International Women’s Day, with IOC President Thomas Bach himself, sending his greetings by video.

In 2007, 50 years after Milliat’s death, the rule enshrined in the Olympic Charter that one of its aims is to “encourage and support the encouragement of women in sports at all levels and in all structures.”

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And a century after the first women’s Olympics in Monte Carlo in 1921, the Tokyo Olympics are considered the first with almost all women as men – if the sport could actually happen despite the coronovirus epidemic.

Autor: Stephen Nessler

Sarah Gracie

About the author: Sarah Gracie

Sarahis a reporter covering Amazon. She previously covered tech and transportation, and she broke stories on Uber's finances, self-driving car program, and cultural crisis. Before that, she covered cybersecurity in finance. Sarah's work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Politico, and the Houston Chronicle.

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