For the first time in history, women will make up 42 percent of the 10,500 athletes competing in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. This figure is up by almost 1,000 since the 1996 Atlanta Games. However, women still only comprise 11% of the 113 International Olympic Committee members. Women will also be competing in the same number of team sports as men for the first time. The level playing field can be, in part, attributed to the 1972 Congressional Educational Amendment known as Title IX. Title IX prohibits discrimination against girls and women in federally funded education, including in athletic programs. As a result of Title IX, women and girls have benefited from more participation opportunities and more equitable facilities.
The spotlight on women will be expanding at the 2000 Olympics with the addition of several previously “male only” sports, including weight lifting, pentathlon, pole vault, and more. And after the gold medal success of the 1996 women’s soccer and softball teams, which was merely a footnote of the 1996 Olympic news coverage, NBC will broadcast all women’s soccer and softball matches in their entirety.