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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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