With all due respect to Ginger, Posh, Baby, Scary and Sporty — girl power may have truly arrived on Saturday (Feb. 23).
And it wasn’t through a flashy marketing campaign or a music video. It was in the octagon.
In a sport filled with more testosterone than Lance Armstrong’s pantry, Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche electrified the thousands in attendance and millions watching around the world on pay-per-view during UFC 157 in California.
It’s a milestone in women’s sports because it’s the first instance I can remember where women’s athletics were put on the same stage as men’s, was treated with the same type of respect and exceeded all expectations.
Not only was Rousey vs. Carmouche an entertaining women’s fight, it was a good fight period. It totally overshadowed the snoozer that Dan Henderson and Lyoto Machida had earlier that night and created two legit stars.
It’s unfortunate that women’s sports don’t get the type of recognition they deserve but perhaps the performance by Rousey and Carmouche can change some of that perception.
Here in Squamish we’re blessed to have incredible and strong female athletes that are always just as fun to watch and cover as the male athletes, oftentimes even more so. From Olympic gold medallist Maëlle Ricker to mountain biker Miranda Miller to young skiing and biking hopeful Mikayla Martin, the talent is evident.
Even the local women’s teams have had a great deal of success and have developed huge followings. Just look at the Sirens roller derby team or the Quest women’s soccer and basketball squads.
But it can be hard for women’s sports to get that first foothold. The WNBA’s popularity has never been anything to brag about and two separate women’s pro soccer leagues have folded in the past decade (WPS 2012 and WUSA 2003).
Above all else, the important thing about Rousey’s historic win was that female athletics were positioned as equal to males. From the people at the arena to the fans at the bar, the vast majority bought in and gave these girls their moment.
Girl power was literally on display and both women showed that, if you give the ladies a chance, they can sell a fight and entertain the crowd.
Hopefully talented women in other sports will get that same opportunity.
As the Spice Girls sang back in the ’90s, that’s what I want… what I really, really want.