עמוד:56

18 Women and the Olympics Do you know that more than 40 percent of the participants in the 2012 Olympic Games in London were women ? Women also took part in every kind of sports event , but that was not always the case . In Ancient Greece the symbol * of the Olympic Games was Nike the goddess * of victory * . But women were banned * from the games . Married women couldn’t even watch the games and women athletes were forbidden to compete . Since they couldn’t compete against the men , the women created a competition of their own . This took place every four years . However , there were only running races . When the modern Olympic Games began in 1896 , women were still not welcome . The founder * of the modern Olympics , Baron Pierre de Coubertin , thought that allowing women to compete would be boring and incorrect . Five women were allowed to compete in the 1900 Olympic Games , but only in three sporting events – golf , gymnastics and tennis . The first female Olympic champion , Charlotte Cooper , won a gold medal in tennis . Women continued to fight hard to take part in sporting events . By 1912 , some countries allowed women to compete in swimming events . However , in America , female athletes were only allowed to take part if they wore long skirts , so of course they didn’t compete . Gradually , women were allowed to play in more sports , such as basketball and volleyball . These changes were slow because society believed that it was not feminine * for women to compete . In the 1928 Olympics , when a number of women collapsed * after competing in the 800-meter track race , this event was banned for women until the 1960 Olympic Games . Today , there are women’s events for all sports at the Olympic Games . However , there are only three events where women and men compete against each other . These are horseback riding , badminton and sailing . This is quite a change from Ancient Greece , when women couldn’t even watch the Olympics .

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