London 2012 Part 3: Violent Femmes

This year’s Olympics have been spectacular, not just because of GB’s brilliant medals haul but also because of some of the characters and drama of the events.

Take today for example, where I watched a wonderful athlete make history as Team GB’s Nicola Adams became the first ever female Olympic boxing champion.

History in the making- Nicola Adams celebrates.

Adams seems to be a rather likable, grounded Northern lass, and I saw her win her semi-final earlier this week with an impressive performance, so I was keen to see how she’d do today and was rooting for her. In fact during the match I was cheering and yelling at the screen and sitting right forward.

Boxing might be, along with football and rugby, one of the most involving sports to watch on TV. Every time I watch it I get really worked up, yelling encouragement and, if alone, doing little shadow boxing in my seat. Today was no different and I was yelling “Come on, Nicola!” at the TV while miming jabs, hooks and uppercuts.

Adams completely dominated her opponent, China’s Ren Cancan and there was never any doubt that she was going to win. Adams’ performance was fantastic as she showed real skill in the ring and some rather deft footwork.

The next bout saw Irish boxer Katie Taylor, pick up a gold in the lightweight division. It was a scrappier affair, and Taylor actually fell behind after two rounds, but rallied and showed great resiliency in coming back to claim victory over Russia’s Sofya Ochigava in a hard fought, close fight. Taylor emerged as the deserved winner in front of a rather loud and vocal Irish contingent.

Taylor celebrates getting Ireland’s first gold of the games.

It was a satisfying sports watching experience as I saw four extremely talented athletes go head-to-head in great matches and the two fighters I was rooting for walked away with the golds.

I’m not entirely sure how they work out the points in boxing, although most of the time I get a decent idea who’s on top and boast a fairly good record at picking winners.

One of the things I’ve found interesting about the women’s boxing is how much its highlighted this double standard in people’s attitudes towards the sport.

Men’s boxing is a long established Olympic event and several big names got their breaks at Olympic tournaments (Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Patterson, Spinks, De La Hoya) and its barely commented on, yet the inclusion of women’s boxing has been criticized by some and several people I know seem to feel it should not be included or don’t feel comfortable with it.

Smokin’ Joe Frazier on his way to Olympic glory at the Tokyo ’64 games

My Dad used to be a boxing fan back in the Ali-Foreman-Frazier era, but has since fallen out of love with the sport, probably because after recieving medical training he is more aware of the sport’s dangers. My Dad holds the view that boxing, with or without Y chromosomes, should be scrapped from the games, which is fair enough, I suppose.

The legendary Ali, shown here having dropped Sonny Liston in a minute, was also an Olympic champ, collecting the light heavyweight title at the Rome ’60 games.

But other people who seem perfectly comfortable with two dudes duking it out seem to get in a tizzy when its two girls practicing the sweet science.

I’m not entirely sure, but I’d have thought that due to all the safety requirements and equipment used at the Olympics makes it the safest boxing you’re gonna get. And while this means its safe enough for male competitors some hold the rather sexist idea that its not quite safe enough for the ladies to have a crack.

Which is ridiculous, as Adams and co. showed today that the level of quality boxing among the female competitors is very high and that they possess the desired skills to be talented fighters and if anything its absurd that its taken this long to add female boxing, although weightlifting for women was only added in 2000 so clearly the Olympics have a rather outdated view of femininity and sports suitable for women.

The only sport where this doesn’t play a factor is the Equestrian events where male and female competitors actually go head-to-head. I can understand the split in several sports, due to the different physical attributes of the genders but I genuinely don’t think there are any sports that one gender is incapable of playing, so I applaud the Olympics for finally including women’s boxing and now, if they can only get rid of the sexist, all-female world of synchronized swimming.

Sexist- Synchronized Swimming

Personally I don’t have any problem with boxing being included as an Olympic event as its an event I think requires a high standard of ability and specific skills (timing, tactics and quick thinking). Boxing in a way is the purest sport and whether its guy-on-guy or girl-on-girl I find it an engrossing, thrilling sport.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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