London 2012 can boast many “firsts” on it’s list of considerable achievements, many reasons to celebrate . I do not believe, however, that Women’s Boxing being included for the first time is one of those. I am choosing not to celebrate it.
Should I really be celebrating that my sex is now equal to men in the ring? Should I experience some sense of joy that women can now beat each other round the face and body in public, encouraged by cheering masses? Call me old-fashioned, but I take no delight, or pride in this “progress”.
I have never understood the justification for boxing. I do not doubt that it requires months, no years, of dedication and training. I am simply stunned that, in 2012, we believe it is “sport” to watch people fighting and gaining points for inflicting injury.
Surely this is only one step removed from Gladiators and the jeering crowds who savoured every moment, every blow, every gory injury. As a woman who is passionate about equality, I would like to see all boxing removed from the Olympics – for men and for women.
There were so many examples of real progress, real reasons for celebration, for and by women at the London 2012 games – not least the first woman athlete from Saudi Arabia ever to compete – Sarah Attar. That’s progress worth celebrating.
Or Helen Glover and Heather Stanning – who became the first British women to take an Olympic rowing Gold Medal – that had me jumping for joy in celebration.
Or Italy’s Josefa Idem who became the first woman to compete in eight Olympic Games – that’s astonishing!
As I watched Mohamed Ali being supported on either arm, to allow him to stand at the opening ceremony, I was moved to tears and found myself questioning, again, how far we had really progressed from Roman times. When would they be throwing people to the Lions?
Let’s see some real progress – some brave decisions – how about NO boxing in the 2016 games? In my opinion, that would be something to celebrate.