This year’s Olympic Games will no doubt be remembered for the unusual conditions brought about by the pandemic: the year-long delay, the disrupted training regimens, the missing spectators. But it should also be remembered for the remarkable displays of women’s autonomy. Women athletes have been making headlines for taking control of how they — and we — experience the Games. 

In doing so, they are participating in a significant shift in women’s sports, one that celebrates not only women’s physical strength but also their political power and personal autonomy — qualities that, in the past, have often been sharply limited for women everywhere, but particularly in the sports world.