Olympics 2016


With media coverage of the 2016 Olympics rife with sexism, it’s time to call out the perpetrators and resolve to treat female athletes better.

The 2016 Olympics has not been short on controversies or things that got people talking. From Phelps winning 28 Olympic medals and breaking records to his team-mate Lochte getting entangled in legal hassles for alleged vandalism, from Simone Biles’ feats in Gymnastics to Deepa Karmakar and P.V. Sindhu making history for India, all this with numerous doubts about Rio as an Olympics location in the background. Another major talking point during the Olympics was the incredibly sobering reality about gender equality revealed through numerous instances of sexist media coverage by major newspapers and news portals.

In a move that wasn’t just bad journalism but also generally nonsensical (but strangely not uncommon), The Chicago Tribune announced Corey Cogdell’s bronze medal win in the women’s trap shooting event by citing that she was the wife of Bears’ lineman Mitch Unrein. The Olympic medallist’s name didn’t even originally figure in the headline of an article about her win while her husband’s name did. Corey’s name was added later after backlash on social media. The situation made as much sense as it would have if Nicole Johnson, Michael Phelps’ fiancée, was congratuled for his wins, which is exactly what several news portals online did in online to prove the point.

media sexism 3

Simone Biles emerged as a star, dominating almost all Gymnastics events, yet was reduced to being called “the Micheal Jordan of Gymnastics” by the People magazine. Biles weighed in on the comments comparing her to successful male athletes in other sports by saying, “I’m not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps. I am the first Simone Biles.” The statement, simple enough, also makes an important point – it is enough for female athletes to be acknowledged as successful by themselves. They needn’t be labeled as female versions of their male athletes for their achievements to count.


Other damning evidence came in the form of an actual debate by male sports presenters on Fox Sports on whether or not Olympic athletes should wear makeup, with one of them saying, “Why should I have to look at some chick’s zits? Why not a little blush on her lips? And cover those zits! I like to see a person who wins that gold medal go up there and look beautiful.” While it’s amusing and horrifying in equal parts that Arnab Goswami’s Newshour isn’t the only redundant news debate segment around, one can’t help but be appalled at the amount of male privilege that the presenters enjoy that made it possible for them to criticise actual Olympic athletes about their looks, which is possibly as least possible a matter of concern to an Olympic athlete as it can get. Looking pretty is not something female athletes, or women in general, owe to anyone in this world.

Media Sexism

These instances aren’t all. A recent picture has been doing the rounds of social media wherein Katie Ledecky’s world record win is the sub-heading of an article, as opposed to the headline of Michael Phelps not winning his race, which was tweeted by a woman with the caption, ‘This headline is a metaphor for basically the entire world.’ True words, indeed, when media across the world would rather focus on literally anything else other than achievements of female athletes.

While the sexist media coverage of the Rio Olympics definitely grabbed eyeballs, it is far from the first or the only time female athletes have been undermined despite excelling at their respective sports. It’s the same as women getting paid $0.75 for every dollar that a man makes, and being treated as second-class citizens. While the Rio Olympics will soon be over, they need to become a turning point in media culture towards recognising that media (and hence narratives of women in the media) is still mostly controlled by white men, and that female Olympians and the women of this world deserve to be treated better, and that the people of this world deserve better journalism.

Image credits: cbc.ca

Shubham Kaushik

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The world’s largest sporting spectacle is drawing to a close in Rio and almost 11,000 athletes from 207 National Olympic Committees are heading home. What an eventful Olympics it has been! Michael Phelps is retiring after his 23rd gold, Bolt is still faster than lightning and Indian women are steadily overshadowing their male contemporaries. Like every sporting event though, some sports rake up more viewers than other. Especially in India, where sporting infrastructure doesn’t warrant participation in every Olympic event, some sports are overlooked. Here are a few events that even avid sport gawkers may have overlooked:



With gymnast Dipa Karmakar reaching the finals in 2016, gymnastics did see a lot more viewers in India. But did you know that professional trampolining is also an Olympic event? In this, bouncing on a trampoline to heights of eight metres, athletes perform acrobatic movements such as twists and somersaults in mid-air, and are awarded points for difficulty, execution and flight time. The techniques and finesse shown by gymnasts in this particular event is astounding!
INDIA: We did not have a participant for this event, but after Karmakar, gymnastics is bound to be more popular in this nation.



BMX racing is a serious deal and is even an Olympic sport! Cycling’s most recent Olympic discipline which debuted at Beijing 2008, BMX is an exciting sport which mixes intense racing, big jumps and plenty of crashes. In Rio there are men’s and women’s individual events.
INDIA: No participants for this as well.



Interestingly, this is the only Olympic sport in which men and women compete against each other on a level playing field. It has three disciplines: eventing, dressage and jumping, all of them with individual and team competitors. Equestrian disciplines and the equestrian component of Modern Pentathlon are also the only Olympic events that involve animals. The horse is considered as much an athlete as the rider.
INDIA: No participants.



The steeplechase at the Summer Olympics has been held over several distances and is the longest track event with obstacles held at the multi-sport event. The men’s 3000 metres steeplechase has been present on the Olympic athletics programme since 1920. The women’s event is the most recent addition to the programme, having been added at the 2008 Olympics. It is the most prestigious steeplechase track race at elite level.
INDIA: Lalita Babbar ranked 7th in the women’s 2000 metres steeplechase.



An only women’s event, it is like an aquatic ballet. Synchronised swimming has been delighting Olympic audiences with its grace and rhythm since Los Angeles 1984. If you thought swimming or diving was testing, try dancing skilfully in water!
INDIA: No participants.

Image Credits: Rio 2016 official website, indianexpress.com,thesource.com

Swareena Gurung
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Delhi University recently earned itself the reputation of being the only university in the country to send the maximum number of participants to the Rio Olympics this year. But it’s not just the Olympics where it is sending students.

The Olympics is the biggest dream of any qualified sportsperson and the ultimate stage where they get a chance to prove themselves. Apurvi Chandela, who has qualified for the women’s 10m air rifle, Lalit Mathur, who has qualified for the men’s 4x400m relay and Manika Batra, who has qualified for the women’s singles at Table Tennis are getting a chance to play in the biggest and the most glamorous competition of their lives. Batra is at the top of the table tennis rankings in India, Apurvi has already won a gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Glassgow and Mathur has already made his bollywood debut as Farhan Akhtar’s body double in the movie Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.

However, it’s not just the Olympics where DU kids will lock horns with international talent. Sharad Kumar, a graduate from Kirori Mal College is all set to compete in the Rio Paralympics. He was banned in 2012 for allegedly taking steroids during the Malaysian open Para Athletics Championship but proved himself after winning the gold medal at the 2014 Para Asian Games at Incheon. He also broke a 12 year old record in the men’s high jump category. The 22 year old has proved himself worthy of the 2016 Paralympics. But it is disheartening to know that even after winning the gold, he was not given any recognition. Despite every medalist being given tonnes of special facilities by the government, Sharad did not receive any. This reflects the sad state of affairs in India where athletes are expected to give their all for the country but the government still fails to give them their due rewards. An athlete like Sharad should get the recognition he deserves and it is something he has definitely earned again this time.

We wish him all the best for the Paralympics!

Image credits: thesalute.in
Inputs from news18.com

Arindam Goswami

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The Olympics which start from 5th August, 2016, at Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, will have three Delhi University (DU) students competing in different events. DU is the only university to send three participants to the Olympic Games in the same year.

Lalit Mathur from Sri Guru Nanak Dev Khalsa College will be competing in the ‘4×400 metres relay for men’, Manika Batra and Apurvi Chandela from Jesus and Mary College in ‘table tennis’ and ‘shooting’, respectively.

Lalit who claims to have been the body double for Farhan Akhtar in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag quoted in an interview, “It is a big responsibility. It is scary and I am nervous. I just know I have to do my best.” He is not allowing anything to divert him at this point. “Gold lana hain country ke liye, uski poori koshish hain,” says the Delhi athlete.

Paddler Batra, who has won three golds in the South Asian Games plus two silver and two bronze medals in the Commonwealth Games this year, is a big fan of Sachin Tendulkar. Measuring 130th in world ranking, the Delhi based player is confident she will bag a medal in the Olympics. She had already started working for Indian Oil while being a third year BA programme student at JMC.

Apurvi Chandela has already won a gold medal in the 2014 Commonwealth games at Glasglow. In an interview with DU Beat, she said that she was inspired when Abhinav Bindra won the gold in the 2008 Olympics and that is when she started shooting. Spending a minimum of six hours in training everyday, she likes to spend her free time with her dogs and an occasional book. “Sports is a good field to take up. It helps in all-round development. It keeps you going at all times. It’s important to put in all your effort and do what it takes to reach your goal,” said the youth icon.

DU is proud of such young stars and DU Beat wishes them all the best for the Olympics 2016 and their future endeavours!

Inputs from: Sportskeeda.com, Timesofindia.com

Image credits: newindianexpress.com, Pressreader.com, Konkanworld.com

Arindam Goswami

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