You’ve all heard about the controversy swirling around transgender Lia Thomas winning events at the Ivy League and NCAA championships.
First, as Kaitlyn Jenner said, Thomas isn’t breaking any rules — she followed NCAA stated rules. Jenner also said it’s not fair for someone who went through male puberty to compete against women. They are taller and stronger. They have bigger hearts, lungs, feet and hands. Those things don’t change with hormone suppression.
The swimmer who got bumped out of finals by one place (she was 17th and there are only 16 spots) wrote a letter to the NCAA. She’s supportive of Thomas but thinks the NCAA rules are not fair. I read she was banned from Twitter for expressing her opinion.
I know several women swimmers who competed against Thomas at the Ivy League champs and NCAAs. I watched them when they were young race against my daughter. The woman who got second place at the Ivy Leagues Champs to Lia Thomas in the 1,650 (the mile) used to race my daughter in So Cal. She was younger and would be in the lane next to my daughter, drafting at her hip. My daughter couldn’t shake her but would touch her out in the end and say “Who is that?!”
I feel for this young woman who lost the title of Ivy League Champion. I wonder how her parents feel?
Prior to 1972 and Title IX, there were few opportunities for women in college sports. Since then, we’ve taken women’s athletics for granted. Yet 50 years ago, most colleges didn’t have women’s sports.
I’ve interviewed swimming stars and coaches for my website socalswimhistory. One story is about Bonnie Adair, the Loyola Marymount head swim coach who as a swimmer held 35 National Age Group records. She talked about when she was college age and there weren’t many teams for women swimmers.
Her freshman year of college was pre-Title IX, and there were limited opportunities and college programs for women. She was training with Jim Montrella for the ’72 Olympic Trials and didn’t want to change up her training regime, so her freshman year she was a commuter at UC Irvine and lived at home with her parents. She said during those days she swam 11 practices a week and lifted weights.
Looking back, she said it was unfair that the women stayed at home and didn’t get to experience college life.
“All of a sudden when school began, there would be all girls in our training group. The fast guys went off to swim at UCLA and USC. We were freshmen and sophomores in college, and we stayed with our club team to train. We lost that experience of being a freshman away at college.”https://socalswimhistory.com/2017/02/03/bonnie-adair-held-35-national-age-group-records/
Prior to the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, women weren’t allowed to compete in the marathon.
When I was in high school, one of my friends and I joined the Boys Golf Team because there wasn’t a girls team. We went to practice every day, but we never once got to compete in a match. We were not the worst players, either.
My daughter and her friends who swam, put in years of hard work and sacrifice beginning at age five. They benefitted so much from swimming and being part of a team. I’m glad my daughter had that experience. I hope that other women get the same experience, too.
What are your thoughts on women’s sports? Did you know how limited the opportunities were 50 years ago? What are your experiences with women’s sports as a mom or competitor?
When I was in high school, there was only a boys soccer team. A girl tried out for the team and that was considered HUGE. This was in 1987. We’ve come a lonnnng way.
Isn’t it something? I wonder if young women today realize how things have changed?
I think it’s our duty to tell them. 🙂
That’s a great idea. How else would they know?
Hmmmm….I have so much to say about this, but I’ll remain quiet for now. I have thought about writing a post and asking if we should get rid of mens and womens having separate divisions….and make one division. Title ix is going to have a rocky road
I have a lot more to say too but this is a start.
I remember years ago the athlete of our small school was gifted in so many areas. I recently saw a pic of her and she was fat! She was so bright. I just assumed she would always be the same but she never left the Catskills and the small arena. Women sports are great but hopefully they motivate all to move forward from one arena to the next success with business or career. On the other hand, I did have the opportunity to notice one of the female athletes is now a successful realtor. I was always the last chosen for the baseball team but I moved on despite the lack of success in baseball.
At least you had women’s sports. I think lessons are learned from sports in time management, grit, hard work pays off, etc. that can translate to careers. But some have a difficult time with the transition.
Yes, she was a local heroine and so smart. Others make the transition more easily.
My daughter is having a tough time. She swam from age 5 through college and it was her passion. Then she found a job she loved in marketing in the swim industry and Covid hit.
Things are slowly getting back to normal.