Most Olympians spend their entire lives in pursuit of a medal, but no matter how well they perform in Rio, athletes often find their achievements marginalized and belittled if they’re not straight men. We’re only a week into the 2016 Games, but we already have plenty of examples:
1. Husbands steal the spotlight from their wives’ accomplishments.
Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu set the world record in the women’s 400-meter individual medley, but NBC commentator Dan Hicks was quick to credit her husband, Shane Tusup, as the man responsible for her success.
At least Hicks said her name. The Chicago Tribune referred to Corey Cogdell in a tweet as “wife of a Bears’ lineman” after she won a bronze medal in women’s trapshooting.
2. Commentators say female athletes should wear makeup.
The producers of the Fox News show Sports Court actually thought it was a good idea to have two men debate whether women should wear makeup when competing in the Olympics. So we shouldn’t be surprised when one of the commentators said: “Why not a little blush on her lips and cover those zits? I like to see a person who wins that gold medal go up there and look beautiful.”
3. NBC repeatedly snubs gay athletes.
The network usually makes a point to showcase an athlete’s cheering family and friends if they medal. When Tom Daley won bronze for synchronized 10-meter platform diving, producers didn’t pan to his fiancé, Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black. And in another incident, when NBC showed Brazilian volleyball player Larissa França celebrating with her family, one announcer referred to her wife as her husband.