Lessons from female Olympians: The 2020 Tokyo Olympics was replete with strong women athletes shattering the societal norms and proving their capability to the world. They won medals, as well as our hearts for encouraging us to dream.
At the same time, it was also complete with empowering moments and a wide set of emotions. Women won, but they also withdrew citing mental health issues. In a way they accepted challenges life threw at them, took a stand for themselves and created a change.
10 Lessons from Olympians we learnt in 2021
1. Prioritising mental health
American Gymnast Simone Biles withdrew from the Olympics event to deal with mental health issues. She wanted to overcome twisties. It is a condition where body is not in sync with the mind. However, she returned within a week. Biles also bagged the bronze medal in the balancing beam final event after re joining the event. This made her an Olympian with 7 medals.
2. Using a platform to convey an important message
The American shot-putter Raven Saunders won a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics. As she stood on the podium, she raised her hand forming an ‘X’. It symbolised the intersection of all oppressed people meeting. She used the platform in order to make a bold statement against oppression based on race and gender. Being a woman who is Black and gay, she has faced it herself and wanted to raise her voice against it.
3. Age no bar
There were women from all age groups participating in Olympics this year. The youngest Olympian this year, 12-year-old Hend Zaza wowed the audience with her performance in table tennis. The 13-year-old Skateboarder, Momiji Nishiya, on the other hand became one among the world’s youngest gold medal winners at the Olympics.
Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard from New Zealand competed in the 87 kg category this year at the Tokyo Olympics. She is the first transgender woman to compete at the event. She thus set a precedent for the game to be more inclusive and accessible. Though she couldn’t win a medal this time, she expressed her joy at being able to be herself at the event.
5. Standing up against sexism
To defy the sexualisation of Gymnastics, Germany’s female gymnasts participated in the Olympics wearing full-body unitards. The costume differed from the bikini-cut leotards they usually wear. It was at the European Artistic Gymnastics Championships in April this year that the team was witnessed wearing this uniform for the first time.
German Gymnasts fight against sexualisation of women by wearing unitards (full bodysuits) for the first time in Olympic Games history.#Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/9DSULIrImB
— Advaid അദ്വൈത് (@Advaidism) July 26, 2021
6. Maintaining healthy relationships
Fiancés Amanda Chidester and Anissa Urtez competed against each other at the softball event in the Olympics. However, this did not bring about any change in their real life partnership. They proved that couples can step on the field as competitors and yet remain committed to one another of it.
7. Contributing for a noble cause
Partnering with her sponsor, the American track and field athlete Allyson Felix has launched $200K grant to cover child care costs for athlete mothers. This year, she became the first woman to win 10 medals at the Olympics. Click here to read more.
8. Never give up
Jamaican sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah who has 4 Olympic medals to her credit suffered from calf and Achilles’ injury recently. This raised questions concerning her performance at the Tokyo Olympics. However, she set a 10.61 second record in the 100m category this year.
9. Fighting poverty
From weightlifter Mirabai Chanu to discus thrower Kamlpreet Kaur, there were several Olympians who did not come from a financially well off family. Chanu lifted logs for firewood in her village as a child. Kaur on the other hand, is the daughter of a farmer. Despite their poverty stricken family background, they created a ground for themselves. Since then, there has been no looking back.
10. Your gender doesn’t determine your career
Hockey Player Rani Rampal revealed that her family was not in favour of her “wearing skirt” and playing sports. Similarly, Kamalpreet Kaur said to Scroll that her parents would have gotten her married early as that is the fate of most women in her village. However, both of them broke these stereotypes to achieve their goals.