How Title IX Paved the Way for Women at the Rio Olympics

Posted by Shelley Kilpatrick on 1 September 2016 |

The Women from Team USA Dominated at the 2016 Rio Olympics

At the Rio Olympics, Team USA dominated with 121 medals, including 46 golds, 37 silvers and 38 bronzes. And the team’s women won a record-breaking 61 medals—27 of them gold—which if they were their own country, would have put them fourth among all nations in the overall medal chart.

There were huge successes for women competitors including:

  • The U.S. women’s gymnastics team won nine medals with Simone Biles taking home four golds.
  • Kim Rhode (shooting) became the first woman from any nation to win a medal at six straight Olympic Games.
  • The U.S. women’s basketball team won their sixth consecutive gold and their 49th straight Olympic game.
  • Michelle Carter became the first American to win a gold medal in shot put.

How Title IX Has Helped Women Succeed in Athletics

But women didn’t always have this level of success at the Olympics. In fact, at the 1972 Olympics women only took home 23 metals. So what changed after that year? A little law known as Title IX.

On June 23, 1972 Congress passed Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to prohibit entities receiving federal financial assistance from discriminating on the basis of sex in education programs and activities.

And while Title IX has grown to include much more than simply equality in athletics, let’s not forget how much it has done to help women succeed at sports. Especially since 84 percent of medalists at the Rio Games were collegiate athletes.

According to one NCAA report, “between 1981 and 2007, the number of Division I women’s teams sponsored jumped from 2,011 in 1981-82 to 3,339 in 2006-07, and the number of women student-athletes in big-time programs more than doubled.”

Additionally, In 1971–1972, fewer than 30,000 women participated in college sports. In 2010–2011 that number exceeded 190,000—about six times the pre-Title IX rate.

In 1972, women received only two percent of schools’ athletic budgets, and athletic scholarships for women were nonexistent. In 2009–2010, women received 48 percent of the total athletic scholarship dollars at Division 1 schools.

As you can see, since Title IX was passed in 1972, women have been given greater access in all areas of college and university athletics. And hopefully this continues so that the next Olympics is even more successful!

Want to Learn More About Title IX?

As the new school year starts, let’s promise to continue supporting equality in athletics and to keep helping women succeed—on and off the court.

Want to learn more about how Title IX has changed education for the better? Check out this previous blog post. And if you are interested in learning about Title IX training courses, fill out our request a demo form today.

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