whoever you want to be…

The Olympic effect: women’s sport on television

433px-Laura_Robson_Olympics_2012I’m the first to gripe when women’s sport is all but absent in the TV schedules, so I must draw your attention to a promising development that’s come to my attention over recent months.

Call it the Olympic effect; call it disillusionment with male stars; but whatever the reason, there’s a lot of terrific sportswomen being featured on your TV screen at the moment. Whatever you’re interested in, there’ll be something you should be watching.

In cricket, we’re currently midway through the women’s World Cup, where defending champions England are facing some tough opposition. It looks like women’s international cricket is finally becoming a competition between more than two or three teams, and this can only be good for the casual viewer (because it’s more exciting to see close finishes) and for the sport’s future. You can catch up with all the matches on BBC Radio Five Live, and Sky Sports are showing selected games.

Last week, the FA Women’s Super League fixtures for the 2013 season were released – there are eight clubs around the country, with squads including stars like Team GB’s Steph Houghton, so if you fancy seeing some Olympians in action again, pop along to your nearest ground at the end of March. (Or if you’re lazy, or just too far away, you can see live matches on ESPN.)

There’s been some great TV coverage in recent weeks of England’s fantastic netball team, securing a whitewash series win over old rivals Australia for the first time ever. Now it’s time for the domestic league to start up again, and the Netball Superleague will have matches screened live on Sky, with other games shown “as live” later in the week.

Away from the media glare on the men’s Six Nations tournament, the women have their own competition (and all credit to the menfolk, if you catch any of them doing an interview after their matches, they’ll praise their female counterparts and urge rugby fans to watch and support them too). England crushed Scotland 76-0 last weekend, while Italy grabbed a narrow 13-12 win over France and Ireland did slightly better, beating Wales 12-10.

The renaissance of British tennis continues as Judy Murray – who’s produced more Slam-winning British tennis players by herself than the LTA have managed – marshals her girls into a sleek machine in the Fed Cup. With a four-woman squad including Laura Robson and Heather Watson, Britain play Hungary today (Saturday) in their final group match before perhaps proceeding to the promotion play-off.

If you’ve not had enough of snow already, there’s some interesting stuff going on in preparation for the winter Olympics next year – teenage skier Katie Summerhayes won a silver medal at the World Cup this week in the freestyle category; and last weekend Shelley Rudman took gold in the skeleton (you’ll recognise it when you see it – it’s the one where they’re basically lying on a large tea tray and throwing themselves down an ice track headfirst – not for the faint-hearted).

So all things considered, we’re seeing a definite improvement in the attention paid to women’s sports. Are there still more sports you’d like to see given a go in the spotlight?

Picture: Laura Robson in the London 2012 Olympics, from Flickr, user Carine06

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About Carrie

Journalist. Sports fan. Doting auntie. Musical theatre lover. Warcraft geek. World's foremost expert on all things Steven Howard. What would CM Punk do?

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This entry was posted on February 9, 2013 by in Bea Sporty and tagged , , , , , , .
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