We’ve been saying it for years but now everyone knows – Strong is pretty. With the London Olympics now in the history books, world champion boxer Laila A. Ali  and Kathryn E. Olson, CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation, write about the impressive showing of female athletes at the Summer Games.

Fully 40 years after the passage of Title IX of our nation’s Civil Rights Act, female athletes have come into their own. The chalk dust is still settling from this year’s Olympic Games, and the ink is still drying on astounding new Olympic and world records. But before the Games fade into history, let the record show that among world-class athletes, this was the Year of the Woman.

Although much remains to be done to advance women in Olympic competition, the International Olympic Committee showed what could happen if change becomes not an evolutionary but an intentional part of the larger work of advancing excellence in sports. For the first time, every nation participating in the Games had a woman on its team, even the previously unthinkable: a woman in the judo competition representing Saudi Arabia.

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