Is this 2016 or 1916?
Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszú shattered world records with her gold-medal-winning performance in the women’s 400-meter individual medley at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio Saturday night. But instead of acknowledging her victory as a triumph of epic proportions, one NBC news reporter had to puncture a hole in the celebratory mood by crediting Hosszú’s husband for the win.
That’s right. A woman smashed records as an individual and her husband got the glory. If it wasn’t plastered all over every commercial, billboard, and minute of live coverage, you might mistake this year’s Olympic Games as taking place in 1916, not 2016.
"There's the man responsible for turning his wife into an entirely new swimmer..." REALLY, NBC?— Charlotte Wilder (@Charlotte Wilder) 1470535108
Reporter Dan Hicks made the embarrassingly sexist error on Saturday, calling Hosszú’s husband and coach, Shane Tusup, “the guy responsible” for her victory and saying it is “impossible” to speak on Hosszú’s success without crediting him.
Twitter users were quick to respond with outrage over the coverage.
NBC Announcers just gave the credit for Hungary's Hosszu's world record swim to...her husband. ??? #rio2016— Nina Bargiel, probably (@Nina Bargiel, probably) 1470545970
Katinka Hosszu breaks world record for women's medley, #nbcolympics announcer credits husband as "the man responsible." Outrageous sexism.— Deanna Zammit (@Deanna Zammit) 1470535306
For a little context, Tusup has been training Hosszú since they started dating in 2012. According to The New York Times, Hosszú was displeased with her performance at the 2012 London Olympics and sought help from Tusup to elevate her performance level. While she did gain more of a competitive edge while training with Tusup, many observers reported his behavior as aggressive and even abusive. In an interview with The New York Times, Hosszú's former coach, Dave Salo, expressed his concern that "the biggest issue with her is her husband," and added, "I think you have to look at her motivation. Is it fear or confidence that is driving her?"
But this story isn’t about Tusup, it’s about Katinka Hosszú. She is the one representing her native country at the biggest sporting event in the world and pushing herself to the limits to bring home the gold. Beyond that, the swimming pool is also her workplace, and just as in any other work environment, she deserves to do her job free of sexist obstacles. Whether an Olympic athlete or a marketing intern, equal treatment is something we all deserve.