British Olympian Ennis calls for attention to women’s sports

Published On December 8, 2012 | By Jill Saftel

Jessica Ennis, British track and field Olympian, is one of five women named to the shortlist of athletes being considered for BBC Sports Personality of the Year. And while five women on the list is certainly means there has been some progress, Ennis is calling for more attention on women’s sports.

“We need more coverage of women’s sport and we need to get women involved in coaching and administration,” Ennis said, according to The Independent.

“It’s important that girls aren’t afraid of sport. I remember when I first started doing weight training, I didn’t want to be any good because I didn’t want to be all muscly.

“My coach sat me down and said that if I had more muscles than the average woman but won an Olympic gold medal, it would be worth it. He was right, but it’s hard when you’re younger and want to look like everyone else.”

The award came under scrutiny in 2011 when the final list was made up entirely of men. Besides Ennis, the 2012 list includes boxer Nicola Adams, rower Katherine Grainger, swimmer Ellie Simmonds, and cyclist Sarah Storey.

Other notables on the list are favorite Tour de France champion and Olympic time trial gold medalist Bradley Wiggins, double Olympic gold medalist Mo Farah, and US Open winner Andy Murray.

Golf’s big name of the moment, Rory McIlroy, was also nominated for the second year in a row.

The 2012 Olympics certainly helped put a lot of names on the list and also brought a lot of attention to female athletes. While that attention was certainly heightened over this past summer, it doesn’t seem to be sustainable – especially in the US where men’s professional sports are the driving force in all of athletics.

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About The Author

Jill studies journalism at Northeastern University, covers Hockey East for College Hockey News and is the sports editor for The Huntington News. You can follow her on Twitter at @jillsaftel, just don't ask her to choose between hockey and baseball, it's impossible.