Tokyo marks a "turning point" for the elite international sporting competition as the most gender-equal Olympics in the games' history, organizers said, with women accounting for nearly 49% of the 11,090 athletes. That's up from 45% at the last games in 2016 in Rio, 23% at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, 13.2% at the 1964 Games in Tokyo, and 2.2% at the 1900 Games in Paris -- the first to have female athletes.
The Tokyo Olympics will expand its lineup of competitions to include skateboarding, surfing and indoor climbing. While these sports historically were largely represented in the U.S. by white and male superstars -- including skater Tony Hawk, surfer Kelly Slater and climber Alex Honnold -- the games this year have the potential to change that narrative going forward for millions of minority and female fans around the world.
“Harriet walked to freedom. So I’m feeling like right now I’m not especially free and I thought to myself the best way to start to feel good again is I must walk in the steps Harriet walked. She’s helping me to heal and helping me to understand what’s really going on here. The only way I can deal with this is to free my mind. Freedom is certainly a word, we know what it means. But it’s also symbolic of releasing the tension, the pain, the fear that I’m feeling because of this political climate and it’s helped me tremendously.”