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Female Athletes Have Broken Records, Flexed Winning Muscles for 2012 Olympics

August 9, 2012 at 12:00 AM EST
Beginning with the women's U.S. gymnastics team win, gold medals for American women have also piled up in volleyball, swimming, soccer and track and field. Throughout these Olympic games, female athletes from every part of the world have been in the spotlight, providing daily thrills for spectators. Jeffrey Brown reports.
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JEFFREY BROWN: And finally tonight: women flexing their muscles, grabbing the gold and much more.

As we reported earlier, women’s soccer and boxing were front and center today. In fact, female athletes from around the world have been in the spotlight at every turn and every jump in these Games, with American women having particular success.

It started in week one of the games, when the U.S. women’s gymnastic squad won its first team gold since 1996. Then 16-year-old Gabby Douglas captured the women’s all around. She reflected on her experience today.

GABBY DOUGLAS: I was kind of the underdog, that it was a — coming my way up to the top. So America always was an underdog, so for me to come in as that role to play was — it’s definitely a great experience.

JEFFREY BROWN: Douglas’ success was followed by teammate Aly Raisman’s gold medal in the floor exercise.

In swimming, 17-year-old Missy Franklin won four golds and five medals overall. And it’s not just teenaged girls grabbing headlines for the U.S.

ANNOUNCER: It’s over here in London! Misty and Kerri, three-peat, Olympic gold.

JEFFREY BROWN: Yesterday, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings, both mothers in their mid-30s, won their third straight Olympic gold medal in beach volleyball.

In track and field, while much of the attention had gone to Jamaican Usain Bolt, women continue to add to the U.S. medal count. Yesterday, Mississippi native Brittney Reese became the first American to win the women’s long jump since Jackie Joyner-Kersee in 1988.

ANNOUNCER: And that is a big jump!

ANNOUNCER: Allyson Felix now takes a short lead.

JEFFREY BROWN: And Allyson Felix and Carmelita Jeter won gold and bronze in the women’s 200-meter race.

ANNOUNCER: And Allyson Felix gets her gold!

JEFFREY BROWN: Overall, American women are on pace to win twice as many gold medals as men this year 40 years after Title IX banned gender discrimination in school sports.

And it’s just hardly an American phenomenon, as women from around the world have broken records and provided daily thrills at the London Games. In fact, this was the first Olympics in which every competing nation had female athletes.