The Olympic Games: A lasting legacy for women’s sport?

London 2012 has been a great stage for athletes this summer as sports both big and small have had a place in the limelight.

London 2012 has been a great stage for athletes this summer as sports both big and small have had a place in the limelight. In particular, women’s events have become a massive part of the games and gained a significant fan base.

Over the past two weeks we’ve seen coverage of women’s sports which are often overshadowed by men, many of which have won us gold medals, along with silver and bronze, to add to our growing tally. Venues have been packed out to see them in action as the British public has got behind them and supported them throughout every qualifier, and final we’ve been lucky enough to be in.

Britain’s female rowers, boxers, weightlifters, taekwondo fighters and cyclists have, in particular, done our country very proud. But how many of these people did you know about before the Olympics? Amongst the successful Olympians, these names appear: Nicola Adams, Rebecca Adlington, Victoria Pendleton, Katherine Grainger and Jessica Ennis. Have you heard of any of these women before?

Women have been interviewed and profiled before events have taken place. In a world, and media, that is significantly patriarchal this is a massive step forward on the road to sexual equality. Women athletes will surely being triumphing over their raised profiles in the biggest event in the sporting calendar. But how long will it last?

Not only have women been gaining more airtime whilst playing sports, but they’ve also become great ambassadors for brands and advertisers. For example, gold medallist Victoria Pendleton has been in adverts for Pantene shampoo. This may not be a groundbreaking product to endorse but everyone knows her name now even if they didn’t before.

During the usual sporting tournaments of the year there are no mentions of the women’s teams. When the Premiership begins all eyes are on the male competition and the media neglects to report on the female teams who also have their own tournaments.  With the Olympics highlighting the talent that is amongst women teams, will we be seeing a change of scene in the coverage of sport or will it all go back to normal when the hype dies down?

Will the legacy of the female Olympians live on in the media? It will no doubt inspire young girls to get involved in sport and pursue their dreams but as to the future coverage of sport, we’ll just have to wait and see.