I feel vindicated in my choice of first post following today’s news coverage of the Shane Sutton situation in the UK cycling world. Allegations have emerged against the chief coach of UK cycling that he is sexist, and disturbingly prejudiced towards disabled and adaptive athletes as well. You only get to post your first post on a blog once, and yesterday I chose to post about how the UK girls did in the CrossFit open. So easy it would have been to post about how the boys did first, to cover their achievements, like so much of the sporting media, cover the men, and ignore the women.
But I felt that it was worth covering the girls’ side of things first, to give them their due, and highlight them first. Also, I hope it means that I will be able to show a commitment to maintaining balance. However, with a post on junior CrossFit Open participation among boys coming up, I feel the stark difference in participation rates between men and women will be shown up, and give a hint to why people are happier to take male sports men more seriously than women: simple frequency.
That said, and last, but certainly not least, it was good to hear Brazil bound tri-athlete Vicki Holland speaking on the Radio 4’s Today programme about how she competes in a sport that is relatively new, and therefore immune to sexism: she said “we are a young sport in general so we never come in with these stereotypes… our sponsorship, our prize money, race distances are all equal. I feel very fortunate that this is something I’ve never had to consider and I hope I never do.” (from 2h28m33s)
This is the way it should be for young female athletes, and if it can’t be that way or move that way in our mainstream sports, football, rugby, tennis, then I’m afraid they will likely find the competition for eyeballs, and therefore sponsorship money, increasingly hard in the years to come.