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Canadian womens right to participate in competitive sports has been neither automatic nor easily won They have had to contend with medical concerns about their femininity opposition by self-appointed moral guardians of society to the idea of women performing in front of male spectators dress restrictions inequities in funding and facilities and lack of support even in their own athletic associations All these obstacles conspired to exclude women especially in high performance sports Winning the right to compete at the Olympic Games was In the 20s and 30s woman difficult In the 20s and 30s women became more visible and this period was the golden age of womens sport The success of the Matchless Six the 1928 Womens Olympic track team Ethel Smith Myrtle Cook Jean Thompson Bobbie Rosenfeld Ethel Catherwood and Jane Bell resulted in a huge outpouring of public interest - echoed today in the 9 interest in the successes of Canadian women Olympians in hockey curling speed skating biathlon skiing swimming and track and field Throughout the century the public has responded to the outstanding achievements of women athletes such as skater Barbara Ann Scott swimmer Marilyn Bell rower Silken Laumann wheelchair racer Chantal Petitclerc first Olympic downhill medalist Lucille Wheeler mountain biker Alison Sydor swimmer Elaine Tanner outstanding track athletes Charmaine Crooks and Angela Chalmers double gold biathlon medal Olympian Myriam Bdard rowers Marnie McBean and Kathleen Heddle speed skaters Catriona LeMay Doan and Susan Auch and the 1998 womens hockey and curling medalists Individual women such as Alexandrine Gibb founder of the Womens Amateur Athletic Federation and the founders of the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity CAAWS gave women an official voice and worked to overturn the obstacles Over the years many advances were made In a one hundred year period participation in the Olympic Games grew from no women in Athens in 1896 to 3800 of the 10000 athletes in AtIlanta in
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