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Women’s Wrestling and Saber Fencing Make Debut at Olympics in Greece

Female athletes will be competing in two sports previously limited to only male participants in this year’s summer Olympics in Greece. Saber fencing now joins foil and epee fencing as a women’s event, along with women’s wrestling. The Dallas Star-Telegram reports that a record 44 percent of this year’s Olympic athletes will be women. Pairing women’s softball with men’s baseball, women now participate in every Olympic sport except boxing. Women’s wrestling has proved a controversial addition, and supporters of the sport hope that the high-profile Olympic debut will trickle-down to the college and high school levels, reports Women’s eNews. Currently only Hawaii and Texas offer wrestling as a high school sport for girls, and only six colleges offer varsity wrestling for women. When the Olympic games were revived in 1896 by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, he was quoted on the topic of women’s participation, saying it was “impractical, uninteresting, unartistic, and improper,” according to the Dallas Star-Telegram. Since then, inclusion in the Olympic games has validated many women’s sports, including women’s gymnastics, soccer, basketball, swimming, skiing and figure skating. CHECK OUT Ms. Magazine’s interview with Anita DeFrantz, a member of the International Olympic Committee LEARN MORE about the Feminist Majority Foundation’s effort to protect Title IX DONATE to support FMF’s work to achieve gender equality in sports and education

Sources:

Dallas Star-Telegram 8/13/04; WomenÕs eNews 8/16/04Dallas Star-Telegram 8/13/04; WomenÕs eNews 8/16/04

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