In the last few weeks of Olympic competition, women athletes have excelled in every way. An unprecedented number of women athletes participated in the 2000 Olympics–42 percent of competing athletes were women. Thirty-nine world records were broken at the Sydney Olympics, 23 of which women athletes shattered. Of the 664 American athletes competing in the Games, 43 percent were women. American women also own 43 percent of the medals won by US athletes during the Games–39 of the 97 medals.
Women competed in 23 new events added to the 2000 Olympic line-up, and the stellar performances of women in Olympics will persuade Olympic officials to continue to increase the number of events available to women. Individual woman athletes have paved the way for the future of women in the Olympics–Stacy Dragila’s gold medal in the pole vault proves that women are physically capable of the strenuous sport. Marion Jones’ five medals, 3 gold and 2 bronze, is a record for women track athletes, and one she and other athletes will work to beat. Cathy Freeman’s gold is a result of her strength and talent, but also a symbol of Aboriginal pride. The 2000 Olympics was an opportunity for women athletes to shine all over the world and open doors for other women to succeed.