It’s hard to believe we have come to the end of the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games. We were treated to everything from world records being broken to Usain Bolt proving that he really is the fastest man to date. Oscar Pistorius showed that even though you might be disabled, anything is possible. Michael Phelps made history by becoming the first athlete to win 22 medals.
I do, however, have to say that I believe the past two weeks belong to the women! The U.S. won 46 golds and 104 total medals. Out of the 46 gold, women claimed 29 of the 46. For the first time in Olympic history, there were more female athletes competing in the games than male athletes, and every single country sent at least one woman athlete to participate. That in itself shows just how competitive women are and that the sports world no longer has to be a male-dominated field.
There were so many remarkable things that happened over the 17 days that it’s hard to pick just one favorite moment, but I would like to recognize what I felt were some highlights of the games and significant strides for women, starting with the U.S. women's basketball team! Because I was a part of USA basketball from the beginning, of course I am going to be just a tad biased, but the U.S. women’s basketball team became the first team to win five consecutive gold medals in a team sport. Pretty impressive!
How about soccer? I can honestly say what these women gave me a whole new perspective on soccer and just how tough of a sport it is. Much respect to Abby Wambach, Hope Solo, Alex Morgan, and the rest of the squad. You ladies were outstanding.
The gold medal match between Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor vs. April Ross and Jennifer Kessy was a great battle. It was great to see two U.S. teams going for the gold. In the end Walsh and May-Treanor made beach volleyball history by being the first team to win three consecutive gold medals.
How amazing was the track team? Congrats to the 4X100- meter relay team for setting a new world record of 40.82 seconds and the 4X400-meter relay team for bringing home gold as well. These women can run! There were also women who competed in field events and individual running events that should be recognized as well.
I have to say, I have been converted to a gymnastics fan. I have always enjoyed the sport, but not until these games did I realize just how hard these young ladies train and just how hard they work. Imagine competing with your teammates against other countries and then having to compete against your teammates as well in less than 24 hours. It takes a special kind of person to be able to change their mindset like that and compete. Not to mention that most of them are kids under the age of 18! The way the Fab Five handled themselves under pressure in the spotlight is to be commended. From the very beginning of competition each one of them made it clear they were a team. Even when they had to compete against each other, you could still see how much they were pulling for each other—that's the true meaning of teamwork.
To all of the women who competed in an individual sport or event, congratulations! Whether you medaled or not, you still deserve recognition. As a former athlete and three-time Olympian, I understand the sacrifices you made, all of the hard work you put into it, the aches and pains you had to deal with, and even all of the times you or someone else might have doubted your ability. The simple fact that you can call yourself an Olympian is something to be proud of. Not many people get that opportunity and you are to be congratulated and praised.
Congratulations to all of the OIympians and see you in Rio!