When the GB team chef de mission released the list of athletes heading to Tokyo to represent their country this summer, a statement was imposed.
Announces that - for the first time in 125 years of history - The GB team take awayhas more women than men at the Summer Olympics, Mark England said that "2021 is truly the year of the Olympian ".
Was he right? While in Atlanta 1996 34% of the contestants were women, in Tokyo he reached the parity on 48.5%. Most of the brightest stars preparing to shine on the Olympic stage are women, from American gymnast Simone Biles, to Japanese tennis champion Naomi Osaka and Jamaican 100m sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
For the first time, the summer games will feature mixed events in track and field, swimming, table tennis and triathlon and the the women's 100m final - rather than the men's - is hailed as the Tokyo Blue Ribbon event.
From a British perspective, it is definitely a moment to savor, said UK Sport Managing Director Sally Munday. In Paris 1900, the GB team took only one female, but in Tokyo a total of 210 female athletes will perform - 53.5% of the squad.
"It 's truly exceptional time in the history of British sport that for the first time we bought a team which has more women than men", says -she. “The Games will offer these extraordinary sporting moments which will once again excite and inspire the nation. And a lot of those moments will be created by female athletes. "
In the GB team, Laura Kenny, already the most successful British Olympian with four gold medals, is hoping to increase her hold. The the youngest Olympian, 13- Sky Brown, 1 year old , will be aiming for gold on his skateboard during the weekend of opening, while 36-year-old dressage champion Charlotte Dujardin hopes to add to the gold medals she won at Rio 2016 and Londres. 2012.
On the track, all eyes will be on Katarina Johnson-Thompson, as she hopes overcome injuries to excel in heptathlon , while champion Dina Asher-Smith reigning 200m world and 100m silver medalist, look for to add an Olympic gold medal to his achievements . And in team events, the women's football team always has ady said they are aiming for gold while the women's hockey team is hoping defend the Olympic title they won atRio .
These games will also see Helen Glover, the title data link double Olympic rowing champion in women's duo, become the first dam to be selected for the Olympic rowing team of the Kingdom -Uni.
Boxer Charley Davison, whose father trained her at home because that her local gymnasium did not accept girls, was on the sidelines of the Olympic selection when she retired from boxing in 2012 to start a family with her partner in Lowestoft - three children later, she is proud to be known as " Boxing Mom " as she prepares to compete in Tokyo.
"I want to keep doing better every time to prove that you can do anything after having children " said the 27 year old .
It all matters, says Kate Dale, Sport England campaign manager for This girl can . “These Olympics will show that women are rewarded, recognized and celebrated just as much as men,” she said. "Sport plays such an important role in our culture, and the fact that women are as successful if not more than men is such an important message to growing girls.
Many British competitors recognize their importance as role models for girls and women. " I have a feeling that sometimes girls are afraid of being the only girl and they have afraid of being judged by the boys, "said Sky Brown, before flying to Tokyo. " But I want to watch the Olympics, see how many girls play sports and how good [they are], they're gonna really want to [try it]. "
Asher-Smith, who featured on the cover of The August digital issue of @BritishVogue , also talked about wanting girls to see women who look strong, muscular and powerful.
"I want someone to look at a poster, think they look like that too and it 's good because it ' s on a poster boardage "she told Sky Sports. " It may seem like something really small and unimportant, but for a lot of girls it really matters. "
This could help tackle the " dream deficit "that still exists in women's sport, adds Stephanie Hilborne, CEO of Women In Sport. According to her research only 30% of girls dream of reaching the top sports, compared to 60% of boys. Last year, a study showed that 63% of boys participate in team sports compared to 41% of girls, with the figure decreasing as girls enter the field. 'adolescence.
"Having these amazing women being our biggest Olympic medal hopes is another chance for girls to dream", said Hilborne.
Team tieGB 2020 proves what female competitors and the organizations that represent them have been saying for years, she adds: if you fund women and men equally, they will produce excellence in equal measure.
While this may be true for Olympic funding, this is not the case in the rest of UK sport, with the breakdown (calculated on loss of income) from the government's Winter Sports Survival Fund - set up to support sports sectors hard hit by lockdowns - making the point clear: netball, the most popular women's sport, received £ 4million, Rugby Football Union received £ 135million.
"The Big Challenge We will make sure that inspired girls have the opportunity to make these dreams come true," said Hilborne. "Let 's use this moment to call for this equality of investment and opportunity on theland also. "