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Paris 2024 Olympics: Women's Marathon Makes Historic Shift in Olympic Scheduling


Paris 2024 Olympics: Women's Marathon Makes Historic Shift in Olympic Scheduling
Leading up to International Women’s Day on March 8th, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is heralding a historic milestone poised to be achieved at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris 2024: achieving a 50:50 distribution of quota places among female and male athletes. This marks the first instance of complete gender parity on the Olympic stage.
IOC President Thomas Bach expressed, "We are on the brink of commemorating one of the most pivotal moments in the history of women in the Olympic Games and in sports at large."
Throughout the years, the IOC's unwavering dedication to gender equality has progressively augmented the representation of female athletes at the Olympics. From a mere 2.2 percent participation rate in the Paris 1900 Olympics, where women first competed, the numbers have steadily increased. Notable milestones include 23 percent at Los Angeles 1984, 44 percent at London 2012, and 48 percent at Tokyo 2020.
This achievement of gender equality necessitated resilience, persistence, leadership, and bravery.

"We eagerly anticipate Paris 2024, where we will witness the fruits of the immense endeavors undertaken by the Olympic Movement and pioneering women come to fruition. This stands as our contribution to fostering a more gender-equal world," said President Bach..
In collaboration with International Sports Federations (IFs) and National Olympic Committees (NOCs), several pivotal initiatives have been implemented to ensure equal opportunities for female and male athletes to partake in the Olympic Games, including:
  • A more balanced sports program with 28 out of 32 sports achieving full gender equality in Paris.
  • A balanced distribution of medal events with the Paris 2024 schedule featuring 152 women's events, 157 men's events, and 20 mixed-gender events. This means that over half of all medal events at Paris 2024 will be accessible to female athletes.
Furthermore, the IOC has taken significant measures to enhance the visibility of women at the Olympic Games. Since Tokyo 2020, each team has been encouraged to have one female and one male athlete jointly carry their flag during the Opening Ceremony. Additionally, all NOCs are urged to include at least one female and one male athlete in their delegation.
Efforts have also been directed towards ensuring equitable scheduling of women's and men's sports events throughout the 16 days of the Olympic Games. A balanced schedule not only offers journalists the opportunity to provide fair coverage but also facilitates the next generation of female athletes in finding inspiration from their role models in the media.

In Paris, a significant shift in Olympic scheduling is set to occur, exemplified by the women's marathon taking place a day after the men's for the first time since its introduction to the Olympic program in 1984. This event, slated to conclude the athletics program on August 11th during the Closing Ceremony, marks a departure from the longstanding tradition where the men's marathon traditionally brought the Olympic fortnight to a close. Paris 2024 will witness this reversal, highlighting the remarkable performances of female athletes.
This milestone in Paris stands as a proud moment for the Olympic Movement, representing the culmination of concerted efforts by athletes, the IOC, IFs, NOCs, and Games organizers. However, it signifies not an endpoint, but rather a continuation of the journey.
Various IOC-led initiatives are already underway and will persist in bridging the remaining gender gap in sports for women across all levels. Whether it's facilitating access to sports for girls at the grassroots level, supporting female coaches in their pursuit of elite status, or enabling women to attain leadership roles, the IOC and the Olympic Movement remain steadfast in their commitment to fostering a more gender-equal world through sports.
“Our commitment to advancing gender equality does not end in Paris,” said the IOC President. “We will continue to open pathways for women and to work with our stakeholders, encouraging them to take the necessary steps to advance gender equality in their area of responsibility. The IOC will keep leading the way and using the power of sport to contribute to a more equal and inclusive society.”