Courtesy: Donna Hale
We watched in awe as the USA Women’s Soccer team won another championship. The media coverage and aftermath propels girls and women who compete foreword in so many ways — and that includes swimming. It’s not a secret to any person that loves all sports that the fight for equality is real. But every athlete and each new horizon not only closes the gap but broadens opportunities. Here are a few reasons why.
1. All women’s sports need more role models. Katie Ledecky, Missy Franklin, Simone Manuel as well as those who have come before them have no doubt given swimming a fresh new face. The stars of our latest soccer championship are doing the same. Our aspiring athletes that dream of being champions are inspired. Every little girl can see something of themselves in these talented women. Every girl can – if they have the will.
2. Equality is about more than the money. Now this matters. But we are now raising a generation of girls and boys who not only expect more. They will fight for it. The tides are turning. A decade from now we will wonder why it was ever a question of whether men’s and women’s swimming should have ever had different Olympic events. It will be as natural as breathing properly during freestyle.
3. The media will finally do more as will sponsors. Kudos to Nike for their great ad celebrating success. Women are consumers too, and we want more. We want those powerful ads like Under Armour produced for Phelps. But we want to see Ledecky, King, and the yet to be realized stars of the future. We want our daughters and granddaughters to see their future on the internet and on television.
4. More and more sports will become a vehicle for social change. So many athletes I know, including my own daughter, are social
activists. We would have never seen some of the images we saw this week a few decades ago. You can expect more. That’s a wonderfully profound step forward.
5. Sports give athletes a voice. Now more young girls will be proud to use theirs to rectify the Injustices of our time. That is progress. This will lead to more women in leadership roles in swimming – all the way from an increase in club ownership to prime NCAA coaching slots to more power in USA swimming. As I am known for saying: Fly Girls Fly!
I believe that we can win. We already have.
About Donna Hale
Donna Hale has been a swim mom for 16 years. Her daughter is s competitive swimmer in NCAA.