Under the most incredible circumstances of fate, I am honored to be at the IOC World Women and Sport Conference.
I am celebrating the 40th birthday of Title IX among the most accomplished and fascinating people in international women’s sports. Title IX was a powerful piece of US legislation calling for equality in sport –the direct reason why I had the immense opportunity to be an NCAA athlete in Rowing at the University of Louisville.
I’ve heard from so many powerful speakers today and have met so many exceptional people thus far –including Olympic gold medalist!
Ms. Ann Stock of the Department of State, Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, led a powerful presentation of the vision of our nation to connect people worldwide through peace, equality, and sports. I believe whole-heartedly in their mission of “smart power” and as a Fulbright Alumni Ambassador, I bare proof that one-by-one we can bridge mutual culture understanding globally through programs like the ones supported through the State Department.
Inspiration is everywhere at this conference. It’s clear that women in sports create leadership. And as Roland Rich, director of the UN Democracy Fund, pointed out “we need to change the patriarchal nature of politics” (Conference presentation, Feb. 17, 2012). And, in doing so (especially through sports and civic empowerment) this femininity can bring less conflict, more listening and more creative political discussions in countries far and wide.
The exceptional message here at the 5th Annual IOC Women in Sport Conference in Los Angeles is: sports are a legacy for peace and understanding, and the progress of women in sports is a testament to modernity and hope.