June 10, 2024

113: Croissants and Commentary #3: The Surprising Sexist History of the Olympics — And Why It Still Matters

In this Episode

Why do we spend so much time talking about the history of women’s sports? Because what doctors, coaches, and fans think women are capable of on the track or field changes how women are viewed in all parts of society. Like how women’s colleges had mandatory rest days for their female students, because women were believed to be too physically weak to handle the stress of attending school.

Today, Sara and Kelly talk about surprising moments in the Olympics that have been lost to misogyny and inaccurate coverage. And, Kelly speaks to Maggie Merton about her new book “Better Faster Farther: How Running Changed Everything We Know About Women.

Maggie dives into the history to examine how doctors, coaches, sports associations, and the media fought hard to keep women out of sports. They misreported what really happened, lied about races, and perpetuated medical myths that simply weren’t true.

But it’s time to learn about all the surprising moments you might not have known from the Olympics and the history of women’s sports. Like the female athlete pioneers, including:

  • Stamatis Rovithi,who actually ran the marathon at the very first modern Olympics in 1896
  • Diane Leather, who was the first woman to break the 5-minute mile
  • Alice Milliat, who started a separate Women’s Olympic Games
  • Jasmin Paris, who was the first woman to finish the Barkley Marathons

Where we are now is a product of where we came from, and still shapes things today.

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