The First Women Only Olympics Was A Reaction To Women Being Removed From The Olympics

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The 1922 Women’s Olympics was successful.

It is International Women’s Month and to quote the Virginia Slims cigarette commercial jingle of 1969, in women’s sports, you’ve come a long way baby to get to where you are today.” In 1970, women were not allowed to play in international soccer or football matches. Billie Jean King and eight other women risked being blackballed from their profession, tennis, because the nine women decided to start their own women’s tour. But King and the other tennis players were not the first group of women to rebel against what they felt was men trying to stop women advancing in sports. On April 20th, 1922, Alice Milliat, a French athlete organized the Women’s Olympics. Seventy-seven women from five countries competed in jumps, javelins, the shot put, and six running competitions. Why was there a Women’s Olympics? Because the men running the International Olympic Committee felt that women really should not be competing in sports and were systematically eliminating women’s competitions from the Olympics. There were four Women’s Olympics all together held in 1922, 1926, 1930 and 1934. Women were allowed to compete in the 1924 Paris Summer Olympics after the success of the 1922 women’s only event. The women’s series ended after the IOC allowed more women’s competitions.

Billie Jean King and eight other women tennis players became known as the Original 9 in 1970. Nine women who decided to buck the establishment and play in the Virginia Slims Invitational in Houston in 1970. That would change women’s tennis. The nine were threatened by the tennis bosses from playing in Grand Slam events. In 1971, the parent company of the Virginia Slims cigarette brand, Phillip Morris, sponsored a series of tournaments. In 1973, the US Open in tennis paid the men’s and women’s champions equally. The sports world changed.

Evan Weiner’s books are available at iTunes – https://books.apple.com/us/author/evan-weiner/id595575191

Evan can be reached at evan_weiner@hotmail.com