Victories at Rio: stunning & incomplete

Posted 08.19.16

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | Victories at Rio: stunning & incomplete Writing conclusions from the Olympics with the Games still underway is risky since everything can change with a single competition. Except one. The Games have already made an immense mark, and that is on the struggle for full equality for women. These Games have set that standard, as anyone viewing, say, the women's 100 m would easily see.

Gender equality is not merely an issue for sports, although given the strength of the traditional old-boys' networks with the sports world, any break-through in sports is sure to reverberate across civilian society. A few observations so far on this topic:

We see (among the female sprinters and team sports, in particular) that as women become more independent and self-managing, the world around them becomes more beautiful and even a little weirder and more delightful than ordinarily. The self-confidence that comes with their own accomplishments on the track, pool, gym, and playing fields, obviously gives women ownership of themselves and their environs: the Jamaicans' coloured hair, wild nail polish and even jewellery, their spikes and outfits.

That's the surface - - the women's camaraderie, mutual support and sense of fair play are lessons to the old boys, the alpha-males with their tense, individualistic, hyper-competitive attitudes. These Games show us that on a larger social canvas, as women gain equality, all of society grows more benign, supportive, and cleanly competitive. And, yes, beautifully wild.

We see also in the Games a mixture of peoples and races that is inspiring. There seems to be little, if any, racism on the field. With so many Black athletes representing so many nations, who would expect that racism can remain as strong as it is back home, from the USA to France, Netherlands to Brazil? And Canada.

Obviously, without immigrants and the minorities they constitute, most of the American, Canadian, and European teams would not even be in the finals! Trump's vision of a bleached America was never great - - especially on the playing field.

We see, too, that the testosterone apparently needed for competitiveness in sports doesn't necessarily suppress the feminine side of humanity. Not at all! The physical forms, the musculature, strength, endurance, speed, and competitiveness on display in Rio seems closer to what the Greek gods achieved than has our 21st Century of conflict and oppression.

The last brief point is that it is the women athletes themselves who are accomplishing all this - - not the UN, FIFA, or other male-dominated and historically-catatonic bodies. The women nicely sidestepped all this and claimed their own gold, silver and bronze.

Now, if only the world's arms manufacturers and their shills in government could be equally brought into the 21st century! We're not there - - South Sudan, eastern Congo, Syria, the streets of Chicago, Canada's Highway of Tears, the barrios of Rio and Nairobi - - these all remain humanity's tragic embarrassment. How much longer? This is what our world's magnificent Olympian women are asking us.

Do we have a reply?


Copyright © 2016 Fred Ryan/Log Cabin Chronicles/08.16