California Women in the Olympics

Dec 12, 2012

For the first time in Olympic history all participating teams had female athletes. 
Over 5000 female Olympians came to London in 2012.


Dubbed the "Title IX Olympics," this is the first U.S. Olympic team ever to have more women (269) than men (261). The landmark gender equality law marked its 40th anniversary in June.  The California Legislature then passed AJR 27 (Bonilla) to commend the movement toward increased equality and fair treatment of female athletes, and praise the goal of greater opportunities in sports for girls and young women in California.

Largely because of Title IX, more girls and women are playing sports in high school and college – one of the most significant cultural shifts of recent generations – and one of the greatest examples of equity in action.


With the London Olympics completed, one of the biggest, most significant storylines was the dominance of America's female athletes.

Women earned 58 medals to put the United States atop the medal count.

In fact, Chinese women claimed second spot for winning the most medals behind the U.S.


Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics, opposed women participating in the Olympics.

In the first games of Athens in 1896, all 256 competitors were men.  Women were allowed to compete four years later in lawn tennis and golf, but medals were not awarded to women until 1904.

Archery was the only sport open to women in the 1904 and 1908 Olympics and three female swimming and diving events were introduced in 1912.

Fast forward one hundred years, with the 2012 introduction of women’s boxing, there isn’t a single Olympic sport in without women competitors.


The Golden State sent the largest percentage of athletes (male and female) – almost one-fourth of the entire USA contingent (128).

If California were its own 2012 Olympic team, it would have the 24th biggest delegation, sending more athletes than 181 countries.

We are proud of all California Olympians and especially the women who took home an impressive amount of medals in the thirtieth Olympiad!