Over the weekend the Summer Olympics in Rio kicked off. Despite much worry leading into the Games over major issues such as safety, facilities, clean water and overall security, so far Rio is proving to be a respectable host. And in a time when it seems hard to find common ground, sports once again bring us together.
Breaking the glass ceiling
There are so many compelling athlete profiles and stories to be shared, but there is one trend in particular that is standing out. The women. Strong, powerful, beautiful, rule defying. From iconic Olympic competition in the fields of gymnastics, track and field, and swimming to new favorites such as beach volleyball, tennis, fencing, air rifle and rugby, the women have it.
An honest human representation
There is no stereotype these female athletes fit. From age, race, religion and upbringing – they for one, are a true representation of the country. Yes, some are girly girls and love bling (Team USA is rocking 5,000 crystals per leotard); some are unapologetic (Ibtihaj Muhammad is the first U.S. athlete to compete in fencing while wearing a hijab); they don’t have time for cheats (Lilly King #fingerwag); others are unfazed (love her or hate her, Hope Solo has already made several amazing saves at the net while the crowd heckles her with chants of “ZIKA!”); and they come in all ages (Sydney McLaughlin is 16-years-old and competing in the 400m hurdles; Oksana Chusovitina is representing Uzbekistan in gymnastics for the seventh time at the age of 41 – and she’s not writing out 2020!).
Girl power ads
What gets me extra jazzed is that we know these stories through the power of excellent marketing. From tear-jerking ads to highly produced packages airing during NBC’s nightly prime time coverage, women athletes are getting the attention they deserve. The American Business Journals did a piece last week spotlighting what they deemed the 10 best girl power ads airing during these Games.
They are all great so it really is hard to pick a favorite (so I’m not, and instead putting in my top 4); however, I must agree with the writer who suggests you watch NBC’s “Salute” at least a few times, with the volume cranked up.
To remind yourself how anything is possible, watch “The Chant” courtesy of Samsung. For the first time, South Sudan is represented at the Summer Olympics by 400m runner Margret Rumat Hassan. This is her story.
If you need a good cry, watch “Doing Good” by Minute Maid – and then remember to tell your parents that they are #doinggood.
And finally, a story of strength by Under Armour in an ad profiling the USA women’s gymnastics team. It will make you wish you could fly just like those girls.