Photo Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images
Sunday night's music-filled Closing Ceremony marked the official end of the London Olympic Games. And now that all of the results have been tallied, it’s clear that the women -- and in particular the women of the U.S.A. -- are the games’ big winners.
First off, it was the first Olympics ever to which every participating nation sent at least one female athlete. There were close to 5,000 in all, more than at any other Olympic games in history. How awesome is that?
On the U.S. team, the women dominated in nearly every way you might choose to measure. There were more women than men on the team, and they won more gold medals. And get this staggering stat: The U.S.A. women won 29 of America’s total 46 gold medals. Were the U.S. women their own nation, they would have won more golds than any other country except China and tied Great Britain.
With women and girls like Gabby Douglas becoming household names in the span of just a couple of weeks, it seems clear that this Olympics had the power to inspire women of all ages everywhere. And it’s not just the female athletes’ dominance in their sports that inspired, but their back stories filled with financial, physical, and emotional adversities that could have debilitated them -- but didn’t.
It’s easy to see these female-dominated games as a milestone powerful enough to mark shifts even bigger than the sphere of athletics -- although athletics alone are a good place to start.
The Detroit Free Press points out this edition of the games stands to go down in history as the "Role Model Olympics,” and that one place change can and should be made is within the International Olympic Committee. Of the group’s 109 members, just 22 are women. “In 2012, that's an embarrassment,” goes the report in the Free Press. “As women were winning all of those medals, male IOC members were almost always handing them out. That has to change."
So as we wipe hours upon hours of coverage from our DVRs now that the games have wrapped, let’s try to keep those indelible memories of female triumph at the fore and do what we can to make incremental social changes in areas we influence, however small they may seem.
Alesandra Dubin is a Los Angeles-based writer. Follow her on Twitter: @alicedubin.