Tips to avoid Sexism during the 2016 Olympics

Qualifying for the Olympics is a feat in its own. Training to go to an event every four years for a moment that can possible last no more than ten seconds (100 meter sprint) and God forbid you are disqualified for a false start.

Even if you were able to complete, or even medal in an event, it really slows your celebration down when you’re constantly being compared or criticized for not being “enough” for people. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, yes, however there are limits.  NBC has been caught in the fire several times.

Here are a few tips on how not to be a sexist jerk while commenting on the Olympics

  1. Don’t compare a women’s gymnastics team as a bunch of girls standing in the mall. Simone Biles and the rest of the Final Five as they are also known as are standing like they’re in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
  2. Don’t credit a woman’s husband. Katinka Hosszú broke the world record in the 400-meter individual medley, not her husband, even if her husband was her coach. No, just don’t do it.
  3. Don’t recognize a bronze-winning medalist as the wife of another professional athlete, Chicago Tribune. Her name is Corey Cogdell-Unrein and SHE competed in the Olympics and deserves to be separated.

    Corey Gogdell-Unrein
    Photo credit: Twitter
  4. Don’t compare, or downplay, Katie Ledecky to Michael Phelps.  It hurts even more to say she swims like a man. No she swims like a gold-winning athlete. If she so happens to be better than Phelps, so be it but don’t make an excuse for Phelps.
  5. Stop commenting on Gabby Douglas’ hair. She is a gymnast, she sweats. Hair gets wet when you sweat and it may come as a surprise to you that African-American hair is different from other races. She is not her hair, or makeup now apparently, she is an athlete who has the option to wear makeup or her hair as she please. End the bullying, NOW.

    Gabby Douglas 2016
    Photo credit: Getty via
  6. Recognize that in the social media age, it’s unacceptable to criticize something so menial these days. Gymnast come in all sizes and shapes and they should NOT be body shamed. Kudos to Alexa Moreno!
  7. Do you research or look stupid! Many leading newscasters are in Rio to cover the Olympics however some do not appear to prepare well enough in advance before going live or before commenting. That’s what happened when BBC commentator John Inverdale learned the hard way when interviewing Andy Murray after his gold medal winning competition in tennis. Thank goodness Murray corrected the newscaster by informing him about Venus and Serena Williams being athletes who accomplished what he did, four times before!

I could go on, which is sad, but I will let you take a look for yourself. One must be careful of what they say and how they say it.  It takes a village to stand for unity, even if one isn’t directly affected by the fire.

Have you witness sexism during the Rio Olympics?  What has been the most degrading comment you’ve seen/heard?


Author: Cassandra Williams

Public relations and marketing professional. Subscribe to share my journey to fulfilling my dreams as a marketing and public relations professional.

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