A major boost for gender equality or more of the same? The television coverage of female athletes at the 2012 London Olympic Games | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2046-9861
  • E-ISSN: 2046-987X


The vast majority of sport media content is devoted to men’s sports regardless of the type of medium or host country of media outlet. Along with professional tennis, the Summer Olympics is the only major international sporting event where female athletes generally receive television coverage that is quantifiably comparable to that given to male Olympic athletes. However, scholarship showed that even Olympics sport broadcasts are chauvinistic, evident by the language used by journalists covering female athletes and media focusing on specific women’s sports that offer the most heterosexual sex appeal. However, the 2012 London Games were dubbed ‘the Year of the Woman’ by the media, because these marked the first Olympics for which every participating nation sent at least one female athlete, women comprised the majority of athletes from several countries’ delegations (including the United States), and were some of the most publicized stars of the London Olympics. Nevertheless, preliminary analyses cited in this article indicate that sport media, including television, still treated female athletes in London as ‘girls’ rather than women, gave them secondary status compared to male athletes, and mostly focused on women – and their body parts – deemed appealing to the, mostly male, journalists who covered the Games.


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