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Women’s History

Time Magazine. Retrieved on August 4, 2021

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For the Girls – The 2020 Olympics As the summer schedules have come to an end so have the summer Olympics. This year was an incredible jammed pack line up of sporting events that no doubt was completely memorizing. The female athletes in this year’s Olympics ranged in age from 13 to 46. Sky Brown made history as not only the second youngest competing in the Olympic games but as the youngest medalist from Britain who received her place on the podium with a Bronze medal. Then there is the almighty powerful 46 year old Oksana Chusovitina a gymnast who has been competing in the Olympics since 1992 and has 8 Olympic games to add to her curriculum vitae. If that is not enough Oksana is also a single mother. These are just the tip of the iceberg of the high level female athletes who have competed throughout the summer Olympics. There were even female athletes who were pregnant participating in the Olympic games, When you stop and think about it, how amazing will that be when you can tell your child that, yes you competed at the Olympics before birth!!! However, what stood out the most for me was the incredible display of professionalism and compassion that the USA gymnastics team displayed to their friend and fellow teammate. The Olympics for some are a “once in a lifetime” chance to represent not only your country but to be a part of a selection process of what is considered the best of the best in your sport. It is an honor and a privilege to be recognized for the hard work, commitment and sacrifice that is made to be a high level athlete. The mental attitude and preparation is like no other (no I have never been and never will be a high level athlete) but I understand that if your mindset is compromised regardless of your profession, so is your performance.

Please allow me to set the stage, the USA Olympic gymnastics team that was comprised of four female athletes with two individuals who are not considered part of the team for overall scoring but travel, compete and represent USA. The team line up initially consisted of 24 year old Simone Biles who is considered to be the greatest gymnast of all time which places her as the most decorated gymnast on the team. Then there is 18 year old Sunisa Lee who is known for her talent and athleticism on the uneven bars as well as her perfect presentation and consistent extraordinary talent across all the gymnastic exercises. Next up is 18 year old Joran Chiles who is known for her “consistency” has proven herself a strong athlete. Rounding out the team, Grace McCallum, at 18 is considered a “hard core” competitor who had broken her hand in January during a competition that required surgery and made a comeback to qualify on the team. She is known for her talent on the balance beam making it look easy as she leaps, backflips and does handstands on a thin beam in which most of us could probably not even stand on. The last two gymnasts remaining slated to compete as individuals in the Olympics were MyKayla Skinner who at the age of 24 initially was unable to qualify for final competition on the vault and Jade Carey, 21 who earned individual medals throughout the competition. There is obviously so much incredible talent navigating not only the pressure to perform to “perfection” but let’s not forget the world is still under the control of Covid-19 and according to new reports Tokyo was considered to be in a state of emergency as reported by Annie Goldsmith writing for Town and County on August 2, 2021. All of these women spend an extraordinary amount of time together. They all have intimate details of one another and share a bond that they can only understand. So when Simone Biles withdrew from the competition citing initially “medical” reasons and then disclosing the need to put her “mental health” first the team had to recalibrate. The USA coaches made a decision to add in Jade Carey who became the anchor for the team in the all around competition and which led the team to

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September/October 2021

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