Saturday, February 18 marked the close of the 5th IOC Women and Sport World Conference. To say the very least: IT ROCKED! To say more: it was inspirational, powerful, and an exceptional conference. Days later, I am still covered in goosebumps realizing how incredible it was to be surrounded by diplomats, international foundation presidents, olympic gold medalists, national sportscasters and some of the most impressive women leaders in our world’s history. The conference highlighted the growing leadership of women on and off the playing field. We heard stories of women who struggled just for the right to play sports and for the freedom to make a career in a man’s world. Many women fought hard for the rights that we have today; to never second-guess our ability and rights to play sports and lead with integrity. I thank them for their bravery and ambition. I live through their honor having played EIGHT sports competively in my lifetime thus far.
In the London Olympic Games this summer, for the first time in Olympic history ALL sports will see the competition of both men and women. In fact, somewhere close to 45% of athletes competing this summer will be female. This is good right? Yep, but it needs to be 50%. It has been a long time coming, yet we still have more work to do.
In the “Women, Sport and Media” session, we were motivated by such outstanding females as Christine Brennan (USA Today, ABC News, CNN, NPR…this woman covers it al!) and Molly Solomon (Ms. boss-lady at NBC Universal, head producer of Olympic coverage). Ms. Solomon shared that the industry is still a man’s territory in terms of top executives, but that the number of exceptionally talented women ‘poised in middle-management’ will soon lead to a great revolution. The discussion of women both on and off the camera was riveting.
I particularly enjoyed Molly Solomon’s insight that storytelling is where the industry is headed; she shared a short video story of Cathy Freeman and her rise from a marginalized Aboriginal heritage to Australia’s champion as a gold medalist in track and field. According to Solomon, she says “we need to present the Olympics in distintive ways, because the Olympics is about more than sports” (quoted during presentation, Feb. 18, 2012). That’s right.
I am more enthusiastic than ever that I can create short film –in a storytelling fashion –that will be useful to promoting the Olympic movement, Olympic athletes, citizens of host cities, and people all around the globe.
Two final thoughts…
1. Women and Girls have every inate human right that men and boys have. So, give it your all! Be courageous, kind, and be a leader!
2. To both the women and men headed to London this summer, I’ll be cheering for you.
GO TEAM USA!