Rio 2016: How sexist can the media be?

Even as women athletes are shattering records, the media continues to view them through the sexism prism

STP Editor
New Update

Sexism has always been part of the media’s attitude to sportswomen, even at the Olympics which you’d imagine would be free of it.


So we were not really surprised when, as Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszú won the gold and broke the world record in the 400m individual medley, the NBC camera panned the audience and rested on her husband, while commentator Dan Hicks said: “…and there’s the man responsible.”

Katinka Hosszu's perfect shaped body Gold medallist Katinka Hosszu(Picture Credit:

Fortunately, Twitter’s tweeple called Hicks out for his comment.

Wait what did I just watch? Hosszu smashes WR & NBC cuts to husband coach w/ "and there's the person responsible for her performance"?!??

— Cameron Esposito (@cameronesposito), August 7, 2016

"There's the man responsible for turning his wife into an entirely new swimmer..." REALLY, NBC?


— Charlotte Wilder (@TheWilderThings), August 7, 2016

Also read: This is how women waged their war against Olympics sexism and won it

Then there was a zinger from the ‘Chicago Tribune’, which tweeted on August 8 about shooter Corey Cogdell-Unrein’s victory: “Wife of a Bears' lineman wins a bronze medal today in Rio Olympics”

On the same day, an as yet unidentified commentator said about the US gymnastics team that the seven women looked as though they “might as well be standing in the middle of a mall” as the camera panned to them laughing and chatting on the sidelines.

"They could be standing in a mall" wouldn't be talking about male gymnasts like that.

- Wicked Ginny (@GinnyLurcock) August 8, 2016


And again, on the same night, when US swimmer Katie Ledecky broke her own world record and took the gold in the women's 400-meter freestyle, all that the ‘The Daily Mail’ could say was that she is the "female Michael Phelps".

Swimmer Katie Ledecky celebrates her gold medal at Rio 2016 Swimmer Katie Ledecky celebrates her gold medal at Rio 2016 (Picture Credit:

Why can’t she simply earn a respectful headline for herself?

Also read: Axe effect no more: Unilever drops sexist ad campaigns, will others follow suit?

No wonder so many of us are so fond of this headline, put out by Babe, part of the news site ‘The Tab’: Congrats girl! Fiancé of former Miss California scoops his 25th medal.

In case you had no idea, this refers to Michael Phelps. We hope he’s delighted by the publicity his fiancée got.


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Rio 2016 Katinka Hosszu Women Olympians Katie Ledecky sexist media coverage of Olympics