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The years 2015-2020 have revealed an insidious disregard for the #female category by #OlympicGames @olympics executives and their corporate sponsors.
Male (XY) 🧬athletes now allowed into XX events.
Time to take stock re #women’s #sports.
Where did we begin?
Where are we going?
Our story begins in the Egyptian Middle Kingdom (2000 B.C.)
Forms of women’s competition were somewhat different than we experience in 2020 A.D.
Contests revolved around two key aspects of #Egyptian life:
1. Food acquisition- #hunting & #fishing
2. Entertaining - #acrobatics
True #sports for women really began in Ancient Greece during the Classical period (400 B.C.). Unmarried girls had their own private competitions - also at Olympia every 4years.
These were separate from the men’s games.
The festivals were held in honour of Hera, wife of Zeus.
Divided into three age categories, the girls ran over a distance of 500 Olympic feet (approximately 160m).
Standard competition gear was the short ”chiton”, a dress that offered freedom for legs to run and exposed right shoulder uncovered past the breast. 🤔❔
#female #sports
To understand the dress code, one need look no further than the #symbol of the #Greek #women #Olympic festival- the goddess #Atlanta.
The #huntress who refused to be married.
Even in the glory days of women’s #sports at #Olympia in Ancient Greece, many men felt uncomfortable with it.
There was not a wholesale acceptance.
The prospect of independent women engaged in physical play has always been a source of social discomfort throughout history.
Little is known about #women’s play or #sports in the span of time between Ancient Greece and a resumption of documented evidence in 19th Century.
[NOTE: Having witnessed village life in hidden communities deep in #Amazon, I am convinced girls have ALWAYS engaged in competition.]
So our story resumes in 19th Century #USA 🇺🇸.
I now refer to a book that was given to me as a gift by an #IAAF #WorldAthletics executive 20yrs ago.
A large section traces the roots of women in #trackandfield #athletics.
The next few tweets will rely on this account.
Stay tuned...
The crazy thing about history of woman’s movement(s) is how each campaign begins with some random group. “Right place, Right time” sort of thing.
Ex: Quaker women of wave 1 feminism.
No different re women’s #SPORTS.
Modern history begins with a school for girls in #NYstate #USA🇺🇸
While girls #basketball at Vassar College had been active for a while, it was that rainy day of November 9, 1895 that the school staged its first #FieldDay #TrackMeet with a few running & jumping events.
Nobody had trained & it was difficult performing in Victorian bloomers.
Field Day 1895 was so popular that in May 1896 #relay & #baseballthrow were added to the meet. Although a thick hedge had been grown around the field to avoid prying eyes, reporters and college boys flocked to the area to catch a glimpse. Records were broken due to training 3x/wk
The year of Vassar College 2nd Field Day (1896) was the SAME YEAR as the resumption of #OlympicGames. The first ☝🏼of the modern #Olympics.
Credit to French noblemen, Pierre de Courbertin, for leading the way.
His view of female participation was negative, dismissive.
Despite De Coubertin’s beliefs women made their first appearance 4yrs later at the 1900 #OlympicGames in three #sports:
In the decade that followed (1904-1912), three more events would be added:

Still no #trackandfield!
And it wasn’t as if women were unprepared.
By then women’s “Field Days” were happening in many locations across the #English speaking world & #Europe.
Back at Vassar College the girls were making remarkable improvements in #trackandfield. In 1904, freshman Alice H. Belding wound up and launched a baseball ⚾️ 195 ft 3 inches.
#Baseball being the quintessential masculine sport of 19th Century, this #throw shocked the nation.
It gives me great satisfaction to read what one journalist wrote at that time:

“A (female) freshman from the city (#Poughkeepsie, #NY) has forever silenced those male cynics who are fond of saying that a woman cannot throw anything.” (1904)

#USA 🇺🇸
Sadly, there would be no opportunity for that generation of remarkable young women to test their skills at the #OlympicGames.
At best this group of #female #athletes who were pioneers in the realm of #women’s #sports could look back with satisfaction at having set the stage.
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