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Women Athletes Triumph and Make History

The 2000 Olympic Games have been a milestone in the woman’s movement. Twenty-three events for women were added to the Olympic lineup this year. Women are winning golds and setting world records in events thought to be too physically challenging in previous Games. Today, only boxing and wrestling do not offer an equivalent event for women athletes, and in the future, any proposal to add a new event to the Olympics will be required to offer both men’s and women’s events.

These Games have been a landmark for African American women as well. Tennis sensation Venus Williams, already a gold winner in the Tennis singles competition, teamed up with her sister, Serena, to beat the Netherlands in the gold medal match of the Tennis doubles finals. Venus is only the second American woman in history to win two gold medals for Tennis in the same Olympics. The first was Helen Wills who made history in 1924.

Marion Jones, who set out to make history of her own by being the first woman to win five gold medals in one Olympics, had two golds around her neck, for her wins in the 100 and 200 meter races. In her third event, the long jump, Jones came away with a bronze. Even though Jones’ quest for five golds has ended, she has the opportunity to win two more medals in relay competition and come away from the 2000 Olympics as a 5-time medal winner.

With women comprising over 40 percent of the 2000 Olympic athletes, and winning hundreds of medals, the 27th Olympiad offers a glimpse at women’s potential and the opportunities that lay ahead. Title IX has indeed made a difference for the women of the world.

Sources:

USA Today _ September 28 & 29, 2000; Washington Post _ September 29, 2000

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