Athletics gold medalist Denise Lewis has challenged Britain’s female Olympians to put their male counterparts in the shade this summer, predicting success in many events, which could help the perception of women’s sport in the 2012 games’ host country.
Lewis suggested there would be no more repeats of the 2011 “Sports Personality of the Year” – a prestigious award for British sportsmen and women – where no women were shortlisted.
“For me, the equality of men and women makes the Olympics. Women’s sport doesn’t get a lot of column inches and we have a host of young women out there who will hopefully be inspired to pursue a life in sport.”
Despite the setback in 2011, it would seem the problem is far greater in the Unites States. Sports Illustrated’s
“Sportsman of the Year” was last awarded to a woman in 1994 when speedskater Bonnie Blair shared the award, and the last outright female winner was tennis legend Chris Evert in 1976.
Prominent British sports presenter Clare Balding was also vocal in her criticism of the 2011 Sports Personality shortlist when it was announced and joined Lewis in talking up Team GB’s female competitors for this summer:
“British women are going to make their mark this summer. It probably won’t be an all-women’s Sports Personality shortlist this year, but it has always been the non-Olympic years that are the problem because of the lack of coverage.”
“You’d think women did nothing for three years, but these Olympics are going to be hugely influential on an entire generation. It’s important that people see women on an equal footing and don’t just think that when it comes to sport they wave the pompoms.”
(Feature image: greenobles.com)