Viva la Paris Parity!

Viva la Paris Parity!

It’s fierce and official. Cycling will be the next Olympic sport to cross the finish line to gender parity

Written by Senta Scarborough
2020 Mountain Bike World Championships Kate Courtney, above, at the 2018 Mountain Bike World Championships, will be seeking the gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics. Photo by Craig Dutton

Just another four more spins around the sun before women’s equity in cycling at the Olympics will be reality. Paris will become home for gender parity for all female cyclists at the 2024 Olympics games. As a woman-led company, we're pretty stoked.

For the first time, the same number of women as men cyclists will be invited to participate. A total of 514 athletes will compete in all cycling events—257 men and 257 women. 

Rio Olympics Women's BMXAbove, women's BMX event from the  2016 games in Rio

A total of five categories make up the cycling sports at the Olympics. Three of those, BMX, BMX Freestyle Park, and mountain biking, gained gender equity this year in the Tokyo games. The addition of equal competitors for men and women in road and track events brings gender equity to all of the Olympic cycling sports. For the Paris games, road and track cycling events will have equal women and men participants, 90 and 95, respectively.

Union Cycliste Internationale announced earlier this summer that the executive board of the IOC (International Olympic Committee) had met and agreed to the program.

“Gender parity at the Olympic Games Paris 2024 sends out a strong message to our athletes and societies as a whole,” said UCI President David Lappartient.

Women 1900 Olympics

Women entered the Olympic competitions in 1900. Also in Paris, the first 22 women participated in five sports, including golf, lawn tennis and croquet.

In 1948, the first Black woman competitor, Alice Coachman (below), won Olympic Gold in the high jump in London. She jumped a record-breaking five feet, six, and one-eighth inches to secure her gold medal. Born in Albany, Georgia, she trained shoeless using homemade equipment on dirt road.

Alice Coachman First Black Female Olympian
Growing up, she often played sports with the boys upsetting her father, who wanted her to be more ladylike. He discouraged her from athletics even by whipping her. Fierce and undeterred, she competed for the Tuskegee Institute and Albany State University (then College). 

Eventually, she earned a national championship and became the first black woman to ink an endorsement deal with Coca-Cola. She also founded Alice Coachman Track and Field Foundation to aid young athletes and former competitors in financial need.

Olympic Road Race Womens winners London July 2012
 Women's Olympic Road Race Winners, London, July 2012

At the 2012 London Olympic Games, women comprised 44 percent of all Olympians. The US women out-performed men, earning 58 medals, including 29 Gold.

During this year’s 2020 (2021 because of the pandemic) Olympics, women will represent almost half of the athletes, more than any other time in history. In some events, women and men will compete together. Women will comprise 48.8 percent of all Olympians, up from 45 percent at the Rio Olympics games. That means more than 5,000 women athletes will compete in 300 or more events. 

Amber Neben Women's Time Trail
It’s good news for Olympian cyclists like Amber Neben (above), who, at 46 years old, is on the hunt for gold in this year’s cycling events at the Tokyo Games. The two-time world champion in the individual time trial will make her third debut at the Olympics this year. She competed in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

She started her cycling career late. She was pursuing a Ph.D. in molecular biology when she caught road fever. After placing 10th in the collegiate national championships, she entered professional cycling and never looked back.

Neben is full-on Olympic Fierce. In a recent post, Neben writes about having really big feet. They actually give her an excellent platform to pedal the bike!

“BTW, my femurs (the bones from my hip to my knee) are also exceptionally long and also make for amazing levers. Add in the other special features about my physiology, personality, mental wiring, and life experiences, and I can see how I am uniquely equipped to do what I do! I might not ‘fit’ the norms, but I’m never worried about fitting in,” she wrote on Facebook.

Fierce Hazel knows fitting in is NOT freedom. Freedom is celebrating your uniqueness, your individuality, and getting out there and doing what makes you happy.

That’s why all of Fierce Hazel adventure bags are even designed to fit all expressions of gender and any purpose under the sun.

Olympic Women's Cycling Road_Race 2012 Ballistic POUCH

Take our Echelon All-Conditions Ride Pouch, a slim, yet highly functional and ultra durable cycling pouch. It takes its name from the gorgeous diagonal line a group of cyclists achieves drafting a fierce crosswind and it will keep your essentials dry in an unexpected downpour.

Senta Scarborough is an award-winning journalist and Emmy-nominated producer.  She is the founder of Sentamatic Media focusing primarily on screenwriting, journalism and non-fiction projects. Her work has appeared in Adweek, Into, USA Today, E! News, US Weekly Magazine and Asheville Poetry Review, among others. She is a lifetime member of the National Gay and Lesbian Journalist’s Association where she served as a board director for two terms. She holds her MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts from the University of California Riverside/Palm Desert. 
Find her on social media @sentascar

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