So usually I am the scrooge of exciting sport moments, but Selena Roberts at SI.com has a pretty depressing column on the state of female sport stars.
She notes something I have failed to notice, but mostly because I thought I just wasn't paying attention: female superstars have no longevity anymore. Do you remember who the stars of the last Olympics were? Have they endured in our collective memory? Misty May and Kerri Walsh are likely the most memorable (besides the now retired stars of the women's soccer team who had earned their status before Athens). But they also have the advantage of playing a sport that gets some recognition in non-Olympic years.
Roberts attributes this to doping, a sort of Marion Jones effect. We thought she was so pure and great and now she's in jail. Doping, Roberts says, has tainted our views and made us suspicious of these women. But I'm not buying that entirely. Doping has been far more pervasive--if not in practice at least in terms of media attention--among male athletes. People still watch cycling (OK maybe not many Americans but others). Americans are still all about baseball.
If Roberts's hypothesis is even a little bit correct then it means we have another example of the proverbial double standard and double bind that exists for women in sport. Men, as a whole (individuals are punished of course) are excused for doping. Some women dope and all female athletes suffer? Women dope so they can, in part, perform better to get more recognition--the recognition that is harder for them to receive because they are women playing sport--and then they get caught and allegedly taint the whole of women's sports. It's a little bit nutty and quite frustrating.