Print and Go Back espnW Summit

Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Why do the Olympics resonate with women?

By Kathryn Bertine

Women were first permitted to compete at the 1900 Paris Olympics. The eligible events were tennis and golf, and Charlotte Cooper of England took home the first gold medal in ladies' singles lawn tennis. Over the past century, things have changed -- for the better.

Today, women participate in 309 different Olympic events and the fans are marking this progress with more viewership than ever before. In 2010, 56 percent of the TV audience were female viewers.

So what is it about the Olympic Games that resonates with the female fans? Depends on who you ask. For some, it's the draw of witnessing the highest level of competitive sport. For others, learning the personal story behind an athlete's quest is compelling drama, whether they are sports fans or not. Then there is the "What If?" crowd, the viewers who harbor dreams of athletic greatness or memories of their long-ago sports exploits who tune in to watch and wonder..."What if I could do that?"

The Olympics truly have a spellbinding allure to the American public, and espnW's panel "Why the Olympic Games resonate with women and how to apply these learnings more broadly" seeks to discuss the unique bond between the Games, the female viewers and the athletes.