Friday, August 24, 2012

Power to the She

If you were anything like me, you were glued to the TV during the recent London Olympics. Staying up late into the night to watch just one more match, one more race, one more fight to the finish. But what you may or may not have noticed while watching, was that these games were marked by breakthroughs from women athletes, proving that women are a force to be reckoned with.  Here are some highlights:
  • Out of the 104 total medals won by the United States, 58 were taken home by women. That's right, more than half were won by women.
  • Illustrating that you are never too old or too young, of the 539 athletes on the U.S. team, the oldest team member was 54-year-old equestrian Karen O'Connor, while the youngest was 15-year-old swimmer Katie Ledecky.  Katie won gold in the 800 meter freestyle, becoming the youngest women to ever do so.
  • Saudi Arabia sent 800-meter runner Sarah Attar and judoist Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani to compete in the London games, thus marking the 2012 Olympics as the first time in history that every single country represented had at least one female athlete competing.
  • Gabby Douglas became the first African-American to become the individual all-around champion.  She also became the first American gymnast to win gold in both the individual all-around and team competitions at the same Olympics.
  • Tunisia's Habiba Ghribi became her country's first woman to win a medal in the games.
  • Women boxers made history by being included in the games for the first time.
  • Seventeen-year-old Sadaf Rahimi became the first female boxer to fight for Afghanistan in the summer games.  This is quite a feat, considering the prevalent violence against women in Afghanistan and given the fact that that under Taliban rule, women were not allowed to work or leave the house without a male escort from 1996 to 2001.  Rahimi’s accomplishment registers as a hopeful cultural milestone.
  • And this list doesn't even begin to include all of the world records broken during the 2012 Olympics, which you can read all about here.
And because men aren't so bad either, I just have to mention the incredibly moving and inspiring performance by Oscar Pistorius of South Africa, nicknamed Bladerunner, who became the first double below the knee amputee to compete in the Olympics. Proof that you can overcome any obstacle.

Since the Olympics have ended, I have been continuing to tap into the strength, flexibility, speed, and determination exhibited by of all these amazing athletes, and have been using their example to fuel my own athletic and dance goals. I've been using the inspiration of gymnasts, like Chrystalleni Trikomit of Cyprus pictured above, to work on my flexibility. And I have signed up for the Athleta 5K race here in Seattle on September 9th.

So whether you are competing on an international stage or dancing around the stage of your living room, remember this: you are powerful.

I would be honored to hear how the London Olympics impacted you, and what dance or fitness goals you are currently working on.

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