When Fort Lewis College star basketball guard Joshua Blaylock was a student at Lancaster High School in California, he took a class called “Fulfilling Your Potential.” The class was taught by his high school coach Sidney Melvin. When Melvin asked the students to write down the goals they wished to achieve, he took note of something very interesting and unique about Blaylock.
“All the other kids had five, six, seven or more goals they wanted to achieve, and most of those were a bit out of reach,” Melvin said. “Josh only had two goals. He wanted to reach his potential as a basketball player, and he wanted to take care of his mother. That’s it.”
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Vincenzo Nibali with “podium girls” after winning the 2014 Tour de France. Photo from Outside Online.
Recently, organizers of the professional cycling event the Tour Down Under made the decision to eliminate “podium girls” and replace them with male junior riders on the men’s tour, thereby breaking from the tradition of other major professional cycling events like the Tour De France, Vuelta a Espana and Giro D’Italia. Podium girls are a highly visible component of the awards ceremony at the conclusion of bike races. The women are often impeccably dressed in matching outfits while presenting winners with prizes, flowers and kisses on the cheek. The role of podium girls and, in some instances, podium boys provides a snapshot of the ways in which traditional gender norms are reinforced in sport.
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