Women Olympians inspire many during and after Tokyo 2020

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Women Olympians inspire many during and after Tokyo 2020

The Olympics may be over, but its hype lingers on, especially over the nation's women athletes.
 
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics shined the spotlight onto many women athletes including the national women’s volleyball team, archer An San and sport climber Seo Chae-hyun.
 
Their impressive play and sportsmanship has renewed the public enthusiasm on sports.
 
Comments like “Let’s make our own volleyball club!” or “Women sport climbers look so cool. Anyone want to go with me to a climbing gym after Level 4 social distancing ends?” covered various online forums.
 
Lee Yeong-hwa, a coach at a volleyball association in Geumcheon District, southern Seoul, said that registration inquiries grew eightfold since the national women’s volleyball Olympic matches.
 
“The calls especially increased during the national women’s volleyball team matches,” said Lee. “Our activities are temporarily on hold due to the virus, but we plan to resume when the government lowers the social distancing level.”
 
Comments on the athletes’ healthy body figures also trended online.
 
“It is refreshing to see healthy women's body types, especially after being bombarded with all the skinny celebrities in the media,” read a comment. “Seeing [the athletes] makes me want to live a healthier lifestyle.”  
 
Physical psychologist Han Ji-young said, “The Tokyo Olympics was revolutionary in that women gained a new perspectives on their bodies.”
 
“The sight of female athletes giving their all toward victory expanded the younger generation’s definition of potential and strength.” 
 
Han continued. “The Olympics was able to show kids diverse and natural body types instead of the media’s usual display of perfectly presented faces and bodies.”
 
The Games empowers females all around the world, according to Harvard University’s Associate Athletic Director for Administration and former women’s soccer team coach Amy Olson-Cooper.
 
“Olympics display the ability of females to strive and achieve their best,” said Olson-Cooper in an interview with a foreign press on Thursday. “Girls need these role models to realize their own dreams.”
 
Indeed, some young girls in Korea now aspire for a career in sports after witnessing this year’s event.
 
One comment on social media read, “This year’s Olympics gave me the courage to re-start my career as an athlete.”
 
Such vibrancy is a turn away from the past year’s grim atmosphere in the sports industry as cases involving the physical and sexual abuse of female athletes surfaced.
 
The issue was brought to the public’s attention when Korea’s junior triathlete Choi Suk-hyeon committed suicide after years of assault from coaches and older athletes.

BY CHUNG HEE-YUN, LEE JIAN [lee.jian@joongang.co.kr]
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