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               Tokyo 2020                                                                                                          THE JOURNAL OF SPORT,  LEISURE & RISK  WITH AN INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE         November 2021

              after reports surfaced of him proudly            But lest we worry that the host nation and
              explaining how he used to bully disabled         the IOC were the only losers, it is worth                           Women in
              people.                                          looking at some other nations.

              So, Japan wasn’t doing well up to that           A Korean TV station had to apologise for
              point, but the IOC didn’t come out of            the use of cartoons meant to delineate
              it smelling of cherry blossoms either.           competing nations; for example, Romania
              The Committee was intent on ramming              got Dracula and Ukraine got Chernobyl.                              Sport:
              the Olympics through, and ignored all            Russia and China complained about the
              medical advice by demanding that the             use of disputed islands in a map of Japan.
              Olympics go ahead despite concerns               Taiwan had to change its name to keep                               it just keeps
              about the Covid pandemic. After the              China happy. Viewers who don’t keep up
              event, the IOC admitted to approximately         with the world of international doping
              450 cases coming about directly because  news would have been surprised to see
              of the Games, but the result could have          a country called ROC: which was a fudge
              been much worse. In a move that really           to keep Russia in the Olympics, after it                            getting better By Tim Mottram
              shows how ratings trump performance,             emerged in Sochi that many in the Russian
              such was their fear of competing for             team were doping. The Russian flag and
              viewers in the football season that only         anthem was banned, but the Russian                                  2021 marks a stellar year for women in sport. The Olympics saw women adding
              summer would do: the previous Tokyo              athletes were there. And just in case                               gold after gold to their country’s tallies with their highest ever ratio. The European
              Games were held in the milder month              you forgot what a nasty little autocracy                            women’s football leagues are grabbing more press attention than ever before.
              of October. This time, many days were            Belarus is: sprinter Kristina Tsimanouskaya                         The money is getting better too, with some associations finally providing parity in
              30 degrees plus, with humidity so high           had to seek asylum after criticising her                            performance pay.
              the athletes were drenched before the            government on social media.
              starter’s gun was fired.                                                                                             Of course, the                                                          group of dedicated
                                                               But, who would have believed that such a                            old limitations                                                         people who are
                                                               fine spectacle of sport could have arisen                           are still in play. In                                                   willing to grind at the
                                                               under such difficult circumstances. So                              researching this            The best women athletes                     system. But when
                                                               well done Tokyo!                                                                                of 2021” threw up results
                                                                                                                                   article, the writer’s       for “the ten sexiest sports                 the will power finds
                                                                                                                                   internet search of                                                      its critical mass, then
                                                                                                                                   “the best women             women” and the “hottest                     momentum takes
                                                                                                                                   athletes of 2021”           sports hotties”.                            over. In many ways,
                                                                                                                                   threw up results                                                        the journey of female
                                                                                                                                   for “the ten sexiest                                                    sports is a short one.
                                                                                                                                   sports women” and                                                       In 1895, the first official
                                                                                                                                   the “hottest sports hotties”. Neither of          all-women’s football match took place in
                                                                                                                                   these hits were warranted by the search           England, with a ‘North’ team thrashing a
                                                                                                                                   parameters, but Google had its estimations  ‘South’ team 7-1. Soon after, women started
                                                                                                                                   regarding why a male sports writer is             to compete in the Olympics. Just 2% of
                                                                                                                                   “researching” female stars.                       athletes were female.

                                                                                                                                   But this article is a celebration of how          Another decisive factor in change,
                                                                                                                                   things are getting better all the time for        complementary to will and momentum,
                                                                                                                                   women athletes.                                   are massive social and political upheavals.
                                                                                                                                                                                     The two world wars saw women filling in
                                                                                                                                   Change starts slowly. Just like any shift in      for the men in traditionally-male orientated
                                                                                                                                   paradigm, at first there has to be a core         industries, which had much to do with

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