I never imagined that I would be such a fan of the Olympics. I can’t stop looking at any of the disciplines. I feel like he made us come together as if it were the World Cup and introduced the language of Olympic sport into our daily talks. In addition, the parade of athletes that we are proud of has provided us with a cataract of emotions. On this occasion, not only for the satisfaction of feeling represented as a nation, but also because it moves so much collective and individual effort and all the sacrifices they have made to be there.
It is inevitable that we think about the claims of athletes last year and their inability to train due to restrictions. I wonder: was it okay that those who were supposed to represent our country in the Olympics could not train for so long, even applying the appropriate protocols? Today they are required and we are all aware of their performance, but I think it is important not to lose sight that it has been very difficult for them.
On the other hand, outside of the anecdotal of the daily competition, what excites me most about this latest edition is the way in which the new generations are reaffirmed. I was moved to see Tom Daley, exultant after winning the gold medal for Great Britain in synchronized swimming, saying: “I feel very empowered because when I was younger I thought I was never going to achieve anything because I was the way I was.” Such an act of pride gives me great satisfaction in this context because it is an immense political position. And this does not end here, these games show deep social changes that the world is experiencing; one of them was the participation of Quinn, the first non-binary person to compete in the Olympics. Now I look forward to the debut of Laurel Hubbard, the first trans athlete to compete after the International Olympic Committee changed its rules and allowed participants like her to enter, as long as their testosterone levels are below the preset limit.
Something important is happening in these Olympics, yes, but sexism remains strong, despite the advances of feminism worldwide and the urgent need for changes in the regulations for various disciplines. Modifications that do not influence the athletic performance of athletes. I am referring, for example, to the fine that Norwegian beach handball players received for not respecting the dress code and going out to play in shorts against Spain. Fortunately, the news of the sanction raised all kinds of criticism and solidarity with the athletes, to the point that the singer Pink offered to pay the financial fine imposed on the athletes. In a similar scenario, the German gymnasts left the traditional mesh behind and went out to compete in full suits in total repudiation against the sexualization of the athletes of this discipline.
This is a debate that has been going on for years in sport. Sexualization not only works on the social level but also operates from the regulations: the regulations of the International Handball Federation require female athletes to wear a bikini with a tight grip and a raised cut over the upper leg, and It also clarifies that the width of the side must be ten centimeters, while men must wear shorts. Just as female athletes were fined for breaking the rules, shouldn’t the FIH be fined for sexist?
This controversy brought an anecdote from the 2016 Olympics in Rio. It was the match between Germany and Egypt, in which a photograph perfectly captured two women forced to dress according to the mandate of men: one, with her body completely covered except for her face and the other, displaying hers.
It is time to think about the future of those who practice sports without making a difference and start recording those aspects that have nothing to do with sportsmanship but with continuing to replicate paradigms of retrograde and discriminating traditions. It is not something serious to have to modify the regulations and statutes: a sport is not sustained by its rules, but because those who practice it enjoy doing it. After all, to make a revolution it is always necessary to shake a few foundations.