I am not sure if young women of today understand just how amazing this accomplishment is. They grew up in the post Title IX era when girls had much more access to sports. I was born in 1962, ten years before the advent of Title IX. The boys got to start in Little League and Pee Wee football when they were about six years old. We girls didn't even get softball until I was 10. There were no soccer leagues or basketball teams or T-ball for us. The softball team I got to join only played a few games and was completely inferior to what the boys had. In middle school, right after Title IX passed, things got a little better and more sports became available. When I was a senior in high school our school was forced to allow girls on the boys track team since they had no comparable team for girls. I really did not like track, but joined the team just because I could. It felt great to participate, even though I wasn't any good. My claim to fame was running against Carol Lewis in a relay as her famous brother Carl looked on. I lost the race of course, but I shared a track with Carol Lewis, while Carl Lewis watched. For some reason this made me feel that I had accomplished something important.
As my daughter was growing up we made sure she got to participate in lots of sports. She got to try basketball, baseball, soccer and cross country right alongside of her brother. Alison did not love sports and she eventually turned her physical pursuits toward dance. But she got to participate. There were not different expectations for boys and girls like there were when I was growing up. The result is a generation of young women who like to run and kick and climb and throw and catch. They are healthier and happier because they can play sports. I am so grateful to the people who passed Title IX so that all girls have access to sports. And I will be watching the flying women at the Olympics who are are finally taking their place in the sky.