Some experts predict that our medal share will fall even lower this time. Our men's track team, traditionally a leader in medals, has been decimated by Title IX quotas.
Of course, we still produce tremendous athletes. As the land of opportunity, we will always generate individual stars such as swimmer Michael Phelps, who set a world record in winning his first of several medals in Athens.
But Title IX quotas killed the University of California Los Angeles swim team that spurred Mark Spitz to his records. Private swim clubs can still train champions, but other sports such as wrestling and track depend entirely on school-based competition.
The promising baseball players at Howard University lost their chance to develop their skills and become stars. Our future Jesse Owenses have been replaced by less talented women who took an athletic scholarship to get a free college tuition, not because they were keen on sports.
Title IX is holding us back, interfering with dedicated athletes and wasting money on the less motivated. It sets the tone of mindless equality of result, rather than the Olympic spirit that rewards the best athlete.
Political correctness is especially hurtful to team sports. It has led to acquiescing in the feminists' demand that coaches be picked by gender rather than talent, and that successful male coaches of women's teams be replaced by a female coach even if less talented.
A male coach led the women's soccer team to the Olympic gold medal in 1996 and the memorable capture of the World Cup in the Rose Bowl in 1999. But he was oddly replaced by a relatively inexperienced female coach who has never been able to repeat those successes.
The United States spends more on sports than any other country in the world, perhaps more than all other countries combined. But if our future great athletes have their spots taken away from them in the name of gender equality, what are we getting for our money?
It is an obvious sex difference that men are far more interested in competitive sports than women. Men have more testosterone, enjoy the camaraderie more, and are not as vulnerable to injury in rough sports such as football and basketball.
In the Olympics, we compete against other countries that field and fund their best athletes without regard to political correctness or feminist demands for gender equality. Title IX is hurting our country by denying opportunities to male athletes and pushing women into sports that they pursue only long enough to pay their college tuition.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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