The 2012 Summer Olympics were the first in which every country that participated had both men and women athletes competing.
Sarah Attar was the first woman to compete for Saudi Arabia. Ever. She competed completely covered and ran over a half minute slower than her competitors, but that wasn't the point. She was there. That was the point.
"This is such a huge honor and an amazing experience, just to be representing the women...I know that this can make a huge difference."-- Sarah Attar
Sarah is breaking: expectations in her own country, the idea that Olympians are sex objects (have you SEEN pictures of female beach volleyball pictures??), the idea that winning is the only objective.
Aliya Mustafina is an incredibly talented Russian gymnast... like gold medal talented. The Internet, however, decided to focus on more important things, such as how she appears to be a bitch. She hasn't made a "Call Me Maybe" video, nor has she giggled in front of the camera, so obviously, she's a bitch.
Um, what? I think you mean serious, determined, and focused. Just goes to show that a woman in control is automatically labeled a bitch.
Aliya is breaking: the idea that female athletes must be perfect Covergirls.
Talk to the hand, haterz.
Gabby Douglas is an amazing athlete. To prove it, she's got gold medals. That can't be enough, though. Her hair's not done right.
So, for those of you who think a female athlete must look a certain way while she is training, twisting, running, stretching, and contorting, I ask you a few questions.
Gabby is breaking: ...oh heck, she says it better that I would... “I don’t know where this is coming from. What’s wrong with my hair? I’m like ‘I just made history and people are focused on my hair?’ It can be bald or short, it doesn’t matter about my hair. Nothing is going to change. I’m going to wear my hair like this during beam and bar finals. You might as well just stop talking about it.”
– Gabby Douglas
McKayla Maroney is known for her signature scowl. Here's the story. She did really well, then not so well, so she didn't get gold. She stood on the podium, refused to hug the other medalists, crossed her arms and scowled during the medal ceremony.
So what happens when you are completely honest about your emotions? You get a meme made out of you. Okay, okay, there are worse fates, but let's just take a minute to appreciate McKayla Maroney for her athleticism, rather than poke fun at her scowl.
McKayla is breaking: the Suckitupandslapasmileonyourface Standard.
But here's one thing we can all agree on. This. Is. Awesome.