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Celebrating Four Decades of Title IX

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
7/2/2012 10:00 AM   :  11 comments   :  5,438 Views

June 23, 2012 marked the 40th anniversary of the signing of national legislation known as Title IX that sought to create equal rights for boys and girls. Because of this legislation, countless women including myself have taken advantage of the ability to participate in a myriad of athletic opportunities that extend to all levels of competition and have reached far beyond the United States.
 
The proof of Title IX's impact lies far beyond any statistics regarding the number of girls that have participated in organizes athletics. Several weeks ago, the Ohio High School Athletic Association State Track and Field Championships took place at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at The Ohio State University in Columbus Ohio. You may have heard about the teen runner that helped carry her competitor as she struggled to finish the long race. As a four-time competitor in that state meet (as a high jumper), I loved reading about the great example of sportsmanship at such a high level of competition. Watching it was even better!

 

 
The video reminded me of another unbelievable example of sportsmanship and character during a college softball game several years ago.
 

 
As a former college volleyball player, I understand the drive to win and respect these young women for their ability to do what is fair and right regardless of the cost to the outcome of the game. Both of these stories demonstrate just some of the life lessons women have learned through athletics because of Title IX. Here are a few other ways Title IX has changed things for women.
  • During the 1960, Rome Olympics women were not allowed to compete in any running distances longer than 800 meters.
  • In the 1970's, tennis was the most popular professional female sport but by the 1990's team sports such as basketball and football achieved popularity.
  • Britain's Princess Anne competed in equestrian events in the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games.
  • The 1,500-meter race became the new longest woman's distance at the 1972 Munich Olympics and the marathon was added to the 1984 Los Angeles Games and was won by Joan Benoit.
  • In the 1970's, less than 20 percent of running event finishers was female compared to more than 53 percent of finishers in 2011.
  • In 1984, gymnast Mary Lou Retton became the first woman athlete to be depicted on the front of the Wheaties cereal box.
  • Jackie Joyner-Kersee was the first woman athlete to make the cover of the Sports Illustrated magazine in 1987.
  • The Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) had its inaugural season in 1997.
  • Title IX was renamed the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act in 2002 in recognition of her leadership related to sex discrimination in educational programs that led to change.
  • The Wimbledon tennis tournament announces equal prize money for men and women for the first time in 2007.
  • Over seven million women finished a road race in the United States during 2011.
  • Last year there were more than 200 running events strictly for women with the five largest being Nike Women's Half, Disney Princess Half, St. Luke's Women's Fitness Celebration 5K, MORE/FITNESS Half and Tufts Health Plank 10K.
 
With the 2012 London Olympic Games opening ceremony only a few weeks away, now is a great time to get inspired to try new things, test your skills, or set new fitness goals. Here are some resources to help you find your inner athlete and set it free.
 
Are Your Fitness Goals Realistic?
 
5 Fitness Feats that are Worth the Training
 
The Ultimate Walking Guide
 
How to Run with Proper Form and Technique
 
Spark Your Way to a 5K
 
Limited Mobility Lifestyle Center
 
Find the Perfect Workout Shoe for You
 
Are You Wearing the Right Sports Bra? A Guide for Women of All Shapes and Sizes
 
6 Things to Look for When Buying Exercise Apparel
 
We would love to hear your story of how you have benefited from Title IX. What doable-yet-challenging fitness goal will you set to enliven and refocus your workouts?


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