The Female Olympian

Written by Tabby BiddleI have been watching the Olympic coverage every night for the first time in my life.  While I adore athletics and sports competition, I have always preferred to be out there doing these things myself rather than watching others on television.  This year, however, is different.One reason is that for the first time I have TiVo, so I can now skip through commercials and events that don’t interest me.   The second and most important reason is that I find myself so drawn to the stories and charisma of the athletes – and in particular the female athletes -- that skipping watching a night of the action is like skipping out on an invitation to the Oscars (which for those who know me well, I would never do).Whether it be Canadian Joannie Rochette skating her heart out a few days after her mom suddenly and shockingly died there in Vancouver; Frenchwoman Isabelle Delobel skating in the ice dancing competition four months after giving birth to her first baby; American Lindsay Vonn being bubbly and beautiful (with perfect eye make-up I must point out) after skiing down and crashing hard in terrible weather conditions and ruiningher chance at another gold medal; or Kim Yu-na of South Korea rockin’ it out on ice in James Bond attire with the pressure of her entire country on her.  These women are INCREDIBLE. I am astounded by each woman’s focus, determination, and ability to perform and be in the moment.Yay for the female Olympian!These women are mothers (I have counted 17 so far), daughters, sisters and wives.  It is so exciting to see and learn the stories of these women athletes who are skating, skiing, snowboarding, bobsledding, ski jumping, aerial flipping, curling and playing hockey at such a high level. Although I may have some gripes with NBC, I think their Olympic coverage is excellent and I appreciate the well-deserved coverage of the women Olympic athletes.Think about it: most of the athletic “TV time” is spent on men.  Football, basketball, ice hockey, and baseball are the national television sports pastimes.  Okay, we get some woman time in the summer with tennis, but the guys are still getting first bill there too (the final big match is always the men’s).I’m not pitting men against women, or complaining about men’s sports (I love men’s tennis!), I’m just pointing out the imbalance so that we can continually work toward creating balance.For girls, young women, and women in general, being able to watch female athletes from all around the world at such top level is a big boost of self-esteem for what is possible within our own selves.  If these athletes fall, they get up, they recover, they move on.  If these athletes lose, they are disappointed, often cry, but then have gratitude for doing their best, and appreciate the win of their competitor.  Think how often we see them at the bottom of the hill or backstage at the coliseum giving each other a congratulatory hug.These women are not only in top-notch shape physically, but also mentally and emotionally.  To perform under the level of pressure that the Olympic stage brings, you have got to be at the top of your game.  Whether they just completed a perfect triple toe loop on the ice, record downhill time on the snow, or the perfect landing to their aerial jump, these female Olympians show the rest of us women what we are made of – strength, resilience, emotion, passion, disappointment, triumph and ecstasy.Although we may not aspire to be in the Olympics, these women show us that we can have Olympic attitudes in whatever we do.********************************************************************* Tabby Biddle, M.S. Ed. is a writer and editor specializing in health and wellness, women’s issues, personal growth and empowerment.  Her work has been featured by The Huffington Post, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, and other popular media sites.  She lives in Santa Monica, CA with her husband.