-Huff Post Black Voices
Sorry, but can we just take a second and appreciate that after only two and a half days of competition, women are already the clear stars of the Rio Olympics?
Even if you ignore the beloved U.S. women’s soccer team, women are doing awesome things in Rio de Janeiro everywhere you look. Most obviously, U.S. swimmer Katie Ledecky, perhaps the best athlete in the world, is destroying her own world records and finally getting the national recognition she deserves.
Katie Ledecky shatters her own world record.
But two of her teammates, Dana Vollmer and Lilly King, both became national heroes on Sunday, too. Vollmer won a bronze medal in the 100-meter butterfly just 17 months after giving birth. King called out a Russian swimmer on national TV for her history of doping. “I’m not this sweet little girl, that’s not who I am,” she said later.
The U.S. women’s basketball team set a team record for margin of victory. American Kathryn Johnson delivered a devastating hit that woke the world up to the world that is women’s rugby. Ibtihaj Muhammad lost in the women’s individual sabre round of 16 on Monday, but she did make history when she became the first U.S. athlete to compete and win a match at the Olympics in a hijab.
International stories abound, too. Wu Minxia became the first diver in history to win five Olympic gold medals. Oksana Chusovitina, a 41-year-old gymnast representing Uzbekistan, competed in her seventh Olympics. (For reference, Chusovitina’s 17-year-old son is older than U.S. gymnast Laurie Hernandez.) The refugee team’s Yusra Mardini, who saved the lives of more than a dozen refugees when she and two others pushed a sinking boat to safety on a Greek island, won her heat in the women’s 100-meter butterfly. She is just 18 years old.
Even when it comes to heartbreak, women are the major stories coming out of Rio, too. Mara Abbott’s last-second loss in the women’s road race and Serena and Venus Williams’ shocking loss to the Czech Republic’s Barbora Strycova and Lucie Safarova in women’s doubles were two of Sunday’s most talked-about stories.
Simone Biles is probably the best part of the Rio Olympics.
Then, of course, there is the U.S. women’s gymnastics team, which completely destroyed the global competition with smiles on their faces Sunday. Hernandez, Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman and Madison Kocian beat out second-place China in the qualifications by almost 10 full points. For reference, China didn’t even beat last-place Belgium by that much. And as anyone who was watching can tell you, it was utterly transfixing to see five athletes perform their craft to near perfection. And there’s still much more to come.
But yeah, women’s sports aren’t fun to watch.