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How Olympic Media Coverage Undermines Female Athletes

Getty/ODD ANDERSEN/Staff

By now we know that athletes are athletes—no matter your size, shape, or sex. (Ahem, Team USA's Morghan King is proving that weightlifting is sport for every body.) But as the Rio Olympics continue, some news outlets just.won't.quit.it. in making some seriously sexist statements. And viewers aren't so pleased. (Read: It's Time To Give Female Olympic Athletes The Respect That They Deserve)

In fact, CNN just ran an exclusive on the topic. The story, titled "Is Olympic Coverage Undercutting Women's Achievements?" points out some of the ways the media is doing Team USA's ladies a disservice in the way they're reporting the facts. One example: Hungary's Katinka Hosszu, also known as the Iron Lady, won the women's 400-meter individual medley and smashed a world record (read: incredibly difficult). But rather than focusing on her crazy-big accomplishment, NBC's Dan Hicks suggested that "the guy responsible" for her victory was her cheering husband and coach in the stands. Really?

Another case of questionable reporting that the piece points out: On Sunday, The Chicago Tribune tweeted a photo of Corey Cogdell-Unrein, a bronze medalist in women's trap shooting, and referred to her as the "wife of a Bears' lineman." Not only that, but the story itself focused more on her marriage and the fact that her husband could not make it to Rio, rather than her Olympic success! Not cool.

This kind of coverage is a total bummer because, let's be real, the ladies of the Olympics are total badasses. Just check out these first time Olympians to check out in Rio, the kayaker repping Team USA all on her own, the first ever female Indian gymnast to qualify for the Olympics, or Yusra Mardini the Team Refugee athlete making waves in the Olympic pool. We could go on ...

The silver lining: People are noticing this kind of skewed coverage—and as the CNN piece notes—angrily tweeting about it and starting conversations on social media. We just hope that leads to some lasting change so we can celebrate these athletes' huge accomplishments for what they are: their huge accomplishments.

Check out the full story on CNN.

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