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A Bigger Prize by Margaret Heffernan

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CHAPTER 3

The Morning After

Any competition junkie would have overdosed during the London Olympics. Every comparison, every statistic, every victory was used to draw meaningful conclusions about Britain, globalization, athleticism, nationality, ethnicity, history, geography, color, design, weather, and clothes. In the midst of a horrible summer and a hideous economy, good news abounded, and it all had to mean something. Leading many of the euphoric headlines was a recurrent trope: haven’t the girls done well? In 2012, 4,847 women had participated in the Olympics, 121 had taken medals, and of those, fully 77 were gold.

It was, to be sure, some ...

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