Girl power in Tokyo 2020
There were record in medals won, powerful Latinas and awkward discussions as women marked the Tokyo Games.
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Tokyo 2020 will go down in history not only as the first that took place during a pandemic, but also as the one where women stood out the most.
For the first time in the history of the Olympics, there was gender equality, as 49% of the participating athletes were women and some sports, such as swimming and archery, allowed mixed competition.
Since London 2012, women have been a majority in Team USA and it is the fourth consecutive Olympics in which women have surpassed men in medals. But what the athletes achieved this year exceeded all expectations.
Fifty-nine percent of the medals won by the U.S. belong to women. According to USA Today, of the 98 medals obtained just two days before the end of the Olympics, 58 were by women and 35 for men. The remaining five were won in mixed events.
Although female representation in Latin American countries is not as high as on the United States team, they have also made their own historic marks in Tokyo.
Brazilian Rayssa Leal reached the podium in skateboarding, one of the sports debuting in Tokyo, and she also made it as part of the youngest podium in history.
Another Brazilian who made history is Rebeca Andrade, who won two medals in Olympic gymnastics: gold in jumping and silver in individual all-around. It's a milestone not only for her country, but also the entire region.
Yulimar Rojas from Venezuela, set the world record in triple jump. It's milestone for her country because she broke a record that had lasted for 25 years, and also achieved the first gold in history for Venezuela.
Puerto Rican Jasmine Camacho-Quinn also did her thing by winning gold in the 100-meter hurdles, crowning herself as the second woman to win gold for her country.
On the Cuban side, the judoka Idalys Ortiz is now the athlete with the most medals in her country by winning silver in the heavyweight +78 kg competition. She has now won four in her career.
On the Colombian side, Mariana Pajón was crowned the queen of BMX by achieving three consecutive Olympic medals, two golds and asilver in Tokyo, while Lorena Arenas achieved silver, the first medal not only for Colombia, but for Latin America in walking
Women athletes also took advantage of the visibility of the Olympic Games to open discussions about the society of the 21st century.
Runner Allyson Felix, at age 35, became the first woman to win 11 Olympic track and field medals, but her greatest achievement is her two-year-old little daughter. As she herself confessed in an article for the New York Times, "I decided to start a family in 2018 knowing that pregnancy can be 'the kiss of death' in my industry."
Simone Biles, with her bronze in Olympic gymnastics also marked a milestone, but in putting self-care and her mental health before her desire to triumph. The legendary gymnast's attitude opened the door to a global discussion on the subject.
The German gymnasts, for their part, decided to compete in ankle-length jumpsuits, against the tradition of doing it in more revealing garments.
When it comes to setting milestones, it was not just gender equality that was the winner in Tokyo. LGBTQ + athletes also had their place. Beyond gay athletes, was aksi the participation of New Zealander Laurel Hubbard in weightlifting, the first trans woman to compete in an Olympic games.