World Cups and the Olympic Link
Even though football is very popular, the women's events in both the World Cup and the Olympics are pretty young. The official Women's World Cup didn't begin until 1991 while women's football didn't get a place in the Olympics until Atlanta 1996. Since then, the popularity of women's football has increase, though unfortunately it will likely never reach the prominence of the men's sport.
There are differences; while the World Cup offers a place for 24 nations, the Olympics can only have room for twelve due to the time constraints. The World Cup qualification is a three year ordeal, while the Olympics get their nations from confederations cups, except for Europe! They actually will get their qualifications for the Olympics if they place in the top three in the group of nine nations in...the World Cup!
Another note: Scotland and England both have teams in the World Cup this year. Because the World Cup can qualify, which team would go to the Olympics? It was agreed that if England qualifies, they would represent Great Britain, and Scotland's performance would not be taken into account at all! I'd curious to see what would happen if Scotland would be higher ranked than England, but they are currently 0-2 in pool play and probably won't advance.
Because the two major events are almost within a year of each other, it means that a lot of the storylines for the high-stakes matches can carry over. For example, in the 2011 World Cup, Japan defeated the United States for the championship. The following year, with a chip on their shoulder, the United States were able to defeat Japan for the gold medal (and then repeated the feat in the 2015 World Cup).
The top countries have been Germany, Norway, Japan, the United States, and Brazil. Each of them have been able to place in the top three in World Cups and Olympics for the past few years.
A big source of controversy is the fact that these women players don't get nearly as much recognition or pay as their male counterparts. This is not uncommon for either event, and the fact that both didn't allow women to compete until the 1990s helps to prove the point. One of Norway's top athletes, Ada Hegerberg, is not playing for her country because of her protest of her federation's treatment of women.
The World Cup runs until July 7, with matches airing in America on Fox Sports. If you're looking for storylines that can carry over to next year's Olympic tournament in Tokyo, this is a perfect opportunity to find them!
Video of the Week
I'm actually going to go to the channel of USA Swimming this week, and you should definitely check them out. Not only do they give full swims of the TYR Pro Swim Series (of which there was an event this weekend, so you can rewatch all the swims there!), they also have professionally done documentaries. Their Off The Blocks series is fantastic, and the one they did about the Bloomington meet gives a great insight into a professional swimming meet:
(It doesn't hurt that it also features my favorite swimmer at the moment: Cody Miller!)
Tokyo 2020 Prep
D-Day is Thursday. That's when the "lottery" from SafeSport will be released and people will find out if they'll be able to purchase tickets for Olympic events. You can definitely know that I'll be covering my results in a future blog.
- Like I mentioned, the TYR Pro Swim Series wrapped up this weekend with an outdoor pool in Clovis, California! I can't imagine swimming backstroke in an outdoor pool. Women's 50m backstroke winner Ali Deloof said as much in her post-race interview, saying she needed to make sure not to hit the lane line!
- There were not one, but two Diamond League meets this past week. On Thursday there was a meet in Oslo, Norway, and today there was a meet in Rabat, Morocco. And yes, there were some people that made the trip from Oslo to Rabat and competed in both events! Dutch sprinter Dafne Schippers won the 200m race in Oslo, and then came back to run the 100m in Rabat.
- Like I mentioned last year, don't sleep on USA Archery! Brady Ellison became the first American in 34 years to win the recurve individual World Championship. Only one hurdle left for Ellison: Olympic gold. (Did I mention I applied for archery tickets in Tokyo?)
- USA men's rugby qualified for the Olympics a few weeks ago, and this weekend the women's rugby team qualified!
- Olympic Day is next Sunday! What Olympic sport are you going to do to celebrate? (Mine is a surprise! Stay tuned!) You can participate on social media by following the Olympics and searching for #OlympicDay. I can't wait to take a look!