On of the reasons I love the Olympics is because they are a fabulous teaching tool for my tween. Tonight we discussed Vladimir Putin, homophobia, the difference in domestic and foreign policy, what countries are the largest in terms of land mass, and that sometimes doing your best isn’t always enough. There will be many more lessons to come in the weeks ahead.
She’s already learned important lessons thanks to the first ever women’s ski jump Olympic event this year. She’s rooting for American Sarah Hendrickson, something she couldn’t do in Vancouver.
In 2010, my daughter was incensed that there was a men’s ski jump competition at the Winter Olympic Games but there was no such event for women. Hell hath no fury liked a seven year-old whose gender has been scorned.
She was confused. Why would girls not get to do the same thing as boys? This was her first exposure to the fact that women are not always treated the same way that men are treated, an idea with which she was completely unfamiliar.
This was also a lesson to her that she didn’t have to take inequality sitting down.
The kid decided to take action. She started a petition for women’s ski jump to become an Olympic event. She circulated it at school. Kind friends participated via social media and mailed us signed statement arguing for fairness and equal treatment, on the jump and off. We looked up the address of
She learned that it felt good to do something.
And now, four years later, she can watch women go for the gold in the ski jump at the Olympics this year. What a difference four years makes. Thank you to those women and men who fought to make it happen, who refused to accept discrimination.
My tween now knows that things can and do change for the better.
I know that the video is a commercial (yes, it’s an ad, but it’s awesome) featuring American ski jumper Sarah Hendrickson. It shows her jumping while the viewer hears a recording made in 1937 of Amelia Earhart saying, “Please know I’m quite aware of the hazards,” she says. “I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failures must be but a challenge to others.”
Hendrickson adds, “This year, for the first time, women’s ski jumping is an Olympic event. Now women get a chance to fly.”
The fight isn’t over, though. The Nordic Combined competition is both ski jumping and cross-country skiing, both of which women compete in. At the Olympics, however, it remains a male-only event.
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