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Women Athletes Claim Half of US’s Olympic Medals

US women are racking up the medals in the 2000 Olympics. In only three days of competition, the United States has won 18 medals–more than any other country at the games„half of those medals belong to women athletes. Women on the US team have also secured more gold medals, totaling 4, to men’s 3.

Tennis superstar Venus Williams wore down Henrietta Nagyova of Slovakia in her first Olympic match. Women’s water polo hit a bump in the road with a loss to Australia, but their sites are still set on gold. The 1996 Gold medal winning US women’s softball team has lost only one game thus far, losing to in an 11-inning, 2-1 game against Japan. This loss broke the US team’s 112 game winning streak.

Despite the fact that women athletes are reaching new ground in Olympic sport, television ratings of the Games is unexpectedly low. NBC projected network ratings to fall 20 percent during the coverage of the Games, speculating that the time delay and taped coverage would not bring in viewers as the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta did. However, after three nights of coverage, NBC experienced a ratings drop of 32 percent.

Network analysts attribute the low ratings to lackluster coverage and disappointment in athletes’ performances. Few of the American athletes who were projected to win big have done so. Usually, strong finishes in gymnastics brings audiences in initially, but the US women’s and men’s gymnastics teams have both faltered, placing fourth and fifth, respectively, in all around team competitions.

Sources:

USA Today _ September 19, 2000

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