There is a great article on Outside.com on women’s profession sports and namely cycling. It is a great read and states many ideas that I have been thinking (and I am sure you too) about how women’s profession sports is so grossly under appreciated. If you would like to read the article (and I encourage you to before you continue) you can go to Outside.com
A few weeks back during the Olympic trails I was watching Phelps and Lochte duke it out and then the women came out. I didn’t know any of them, not that I follow swimming but you have to be living under a rock to not know who Phelps and Lochte are. And maybe none of the ladies are as great of athletes as these fellows (again, don’t follow swimming so i have no idea). But after a few laps I turned, it wasn’t as interesting (I know, terrible…but true). I was ashamed and confused. Why were the women swimming less interesting to me than the men? They are doing the exact same thing! I am a woman! And I am a swimmer (and by that, I mean I swim), shouldn’t I be more interested in my gender swimming?
That train of thought lead me to the WNBA, again WAY less popular than the NBA. Why are women’s sports less interesting to us? The argument can be posed that more men watch sports, therefor men’s sports are more popular. But we all know that most men love watching women do anything, except play sports (and lingerie football does not count)
Of course there are exceptions to the rule, as stated in the article, women’s tennis is very popular. Okay, so we have that…
Cycling as a whole is not widely watched in the US and really the only way these teams stay alive is big company endorsers, not advertising dollars. Men’s cycling has a hard enough time with popularity and financial stability that it makes me wonder if women’s cycling even has a chance. Women’s professional races are being canceled right and left due to funding, not interest in the sport or lack of athletes.
One position the article does not touch on is the huge gain in popularity of triathlon. I personally feel that the growth of popularity in triathlon will spill over into cycling. I think many women are being introduce into cycling through triathlon. As spectators, we tend to watch sports that we participate in, and hopefully the more we engage in professional triathlon, the more attention will come to profession cycling.
I know on an amateur level, many of my team members that started off as pure runners are getting on the bike in order to compete in triathlon (and I am sure the same can be said about swimming). And that is where it starts, we all have to start as an amateur!
So, what do you think? Do you watch women’s sports? Do you think women’s cycling has a chance, can it gain popularity through cycling? Will we have a professional Tough Chik women’s cycling team some day?