8 leadership lessons from women Olympians competing in Tokyo



There are few occasions that symbolize the pinnacles of victory and the depths of defeat greater than the Olympic video games. Athletes prepare for years—or a long time—to succeed in the very best stage of their sport. Then, over the course of some days, or perhaps a few seconds, all the blood, sweat, and tears that went into preparation are examined, for higher or worse.

This 12 months’s summer season Olympic Video games in Tokyo are historic—and never solely as a result of they had been delayed a 12 months due to the pandemic. The Olympic Video games in Tokyo are the first gender-balanced games in history, based on the Worldwide Olympic Committee. On Crew USA, the 2020 roster contains 329 women and 284 men, marking the third straight Olympic Video games with extra women on the U.S. roster. Within the 2020 Paralympic Video games, which is able to kick off in August in Tokyo, 40.5% of the athletes will likely be women, a document for the video games.

And people women are driving the narrative of the video games, too, launching conversations about every little thing from psychological well being to inequality and inclusion to kindness. Along with Simone Biles’ memorable lessons about psychological well being and self-care, listed below are eight leadership lessons the women of the 2020 Olympics have taught us throughout these video games:


Go forward—be the primary

The women on the 2020 Olympics have been racking up firsts.  Jasmine Camacho-Quinn received Puerto Rico’s first gold medal in observe and second in its historical past. Anastasija Zolotic grew to become the primary American girl to win Olympic gold in taekwondo. The Philippines’ Hidilyn Diaz, a weightlifter, received her nation’s first gold medal because it started sending a delegation to the sport almost a century in the past in 1924.

Don’t be afraid to strive one thing new

Crew USA’s Valarie Allman received Crew USA’s first 2020 observe and area gold medal this week. Allman began her profession as a dancer, touring the nation when she was in highschool. She joined the observe group in highschool and tried discus so she may rating an invitation to the throwers’ annual spaghetti dinner. She discovered she had a knack for it—the energy, steadiness, and approach she realized in her dance coaching helped—and went on to throw at Stanford College.

Age doesn’t outline you

The age vary of the women athletes in Tokyo could shock you. Among the youngest athletes competing are Hend Zaza, 12, from Syria, competing in desk tennis. Skate boarders Sky Brown, 13, Crew Nice Britain, and Japan’s Kokona Hiraki, 12, are additionally among the many youngest Olympians. Skateboarder Momiji Nishiya, 13, received gold in the women’s skateboarding avenue occasion.

The oldest Olympian on the 2020 video games is Mary Hanna, a 66-year-old equestrian from Australia. At 46, Uzbekistan gymnast Oksana Chusovitina competed in her eighth Olympic Video games in Tokyo. Seven athletes in their 30s and 40s, together with three women, are making their Olympic debuts on the 2020 video games.

Maintain going—even when it appears grim

Anybody who has ever had a soul-crushing day felt for Crew USA gymnast Jade Carey when she ended Sunday in tears. A stutter-step earlier than the vault left her in eighth place in the occasion, with no hope for a medal. Whereas some could have let the defeat shake them, Carey nonetheless had work to do. She crushed her ground occasion the next night, triumphantly taking house gold for Crew USA.


Converse up for what issues to you

Felix has already earned six Olympic gold medals and three bronze, making her probably the most embellished observe and area athlete in historical past. Felix has partnered with the Women’s Sports activities Basis and sportswear firm Athleta to create a baby care grant program for athletes who’re moms to assist defray the prices of kid take care of women in coaching.

Felix has additionally been a fierce advocate for women in sports activities. She was one in every of a handful of women who broke their nondisclosure agreements with Nike in 2019 to carry consideration to the corporate’s coverage of decreasing sponsorship pay to pregnant athletes. A New York Instances exposé and Felix’s personal op-ed led to a change in the corporate’s being pregnant pay coverage. Felix, whose daughter was delivered prematurely by Cesarean part on account of her pre-eclampsia—a being pregnant situation characterised by dangerously hypertension—can be an advocate for disparities in maternal well being take care of women of shade.

Change the (unfair) guidelines

Feminine athlete’s uniforms additionally grew to become a flashpoint on the 2020 Olympic video games. First, members of Norway’s women’s seaside handball group had been fined 150 Euros every for carrying shorts as a substitute of bikini bottoms, as required by the Worldwide Handball Federation. Whereas males can put on shorts so long as roughly 4 inches above the knee, women should put on bikini bottoms which can be no more than four inches long. The act of rebel has sparked a world outcry, an inner evaluation by the game’s governing physique, and a proposal by singer and songwriter P!nk to pay their fines.

The German women’s gymnastics group competed in full-body unitards to protest the “sexualization” of athletes in gymnastics, based on a tweet by the German Gymnastics Federation.

Shine your personal gentle

Whereas some referred to as her “the Boss’s daughter,” equestrian Jessica Springsteen, whose father is rock legend Bruce Springsteen, has carried out the work to let her expertise converse for itself. She’s at the moment ranked 14th in the world in her occasion. And whereas she didn’t qualify for a person medal in Tokyo, she’ll compete in the group competitors on Friday.

Kindness issues

Belgian triathlete Claire Michel was devastated when she completed her occasion final Tuesday. Competitor Lotte Miller of Norway was caught on movie consoling Michel, who was sobbing after the occasion. In a pep discuss for the ages, Miller instructed Michel, “You’re a f***ing fighter. That is Olympic spirit and also you’ve bought it 100%,” reported the Associated Press.