Leland Stein III

Women hurdlers have fought a long history of discrimination

In Uncategorized on August 18, 2016 at 5:12 pm


hurdlersUSA Women 100-meter hurdlers make history, sweeping the medal count in Rio 2016.

By Leland Stein III

The USA’s men have dominated the sprint hurdles (110-meters) since the start of the modern Games in 1896 Athens. In fact, starting in 1948 London through 1960 Rome, the US men swept all three medals like our women just accomplished at Rio 2016. During that absolutely dominating span, the US men were led by gold medalist like Harrison Dillard, Lee Calhoun (two golds), and Hayes Jones. They were simply amazing.

Ironically the USA men fail to medal in the 110’s at Rio 2016 for the first time since 1896, but the ladies led by Brianna Rollins (gold), Nia Ali (silver) and Kristi Castlin (bronze) swept the 100-meter hurdles for the first time in Olympic history. The ladies somewhat took the sting off the men’s hurdling goose egg of medals.

To show you how sexist the IAAF (Track & field world governing body) were against women athletes, the ladies could not run the hurdles at all until 1932 and then they only let them compete over 80-meters. The men limited the ladies at 80 until 1969 (when it was changed to 100) and did not let the ladies run in the Olympics until 1972. Women were not allowed to run the 400-meter hurdles until, can you believe this, the 1984 Games in Los Angeles.

Oh I can just hear those old men saying: “Those fragile women cannot jump over a hurdle for that many meters. They will break something or pass out.” Oh how wrong they were. I have been married for 34-years and I can attest to my wife not being fragile. She is strong and passionate about the things she cares about.

Starting at the first women’s Olympic 100 hurdle race in 1972 Munich Games, the US women could not break through until 1984 L.A. Games, where Benita Fitzgerald became the first American women to win gold. It took 20-years, but she was finally followed by one of my former students, Joanna Hayes, at the 2004 Athens Games and Dawn Harper at the 2008 Beijing Games. Now at Rio 2016 Games these three amazing ladies have done what has never been done before, sweep. It is remarkable considering the US women have had to battle mightily for international supremacy for the 100 hurdles medals.

Women around the world are showing the full folly and ignorance of the capabilities of women athletes for far too long by the IAAF suits. Keep it going ladies!!!

Leland Stein can be reached at lelstein3@aol.com or Twitter @LelandSteinIII

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