Editorial: Women rule
Published: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 4:42 p.m.
It's clear from recent events that the University of Florida is no longer a football school.
It's a women's gymnastics school. And a women's tennis school. And possibly a women's lacrosse and softball school, too.
The Gator women's teams don't generate the same attention or revenue as the football and men's basketball teams. But the national championship won Saturday by the women's gymnastics team, its first in the sport, is the latest news showing the commitment that the UF Athletic Association has made to women's athletics.
Of course, all the fancy facilities in the world don't mean anything if the teams don't deliver. Women's gymnastics did so in dramatic fashion, shaking off three falls in its first seven routines to take the title with a series of strong scores.
“We could have done without the drama of the first round,” UF President Bernie Machen joked at a rally Monday. “But we are so proud of what you were able to accomplish for our school and our community.”
Since the NCAA started awarding national titles in women's gymnastics in 1982, just four other schools have won them. The Gators finished 0.075 points shy of winning last year's title, so this year's results were no fluke.
Indeed, anyone who's seen the gymnastics team compete at the O'Connell Center can vouch for its athletes being among the very best at what they do. Spectators also know that the crowd can be a family affair, with the team providing solid role models for the young girls in attendance.
The gymnastics team isn't alone in its success. The women's tennis team recently won a Southeastern Conference championship Sunday, its 19th title in the 26-year history of the league's postseason event. The team will now pursue its third straight national championship.
The softball team has the nation's best record after a no-hitter thrown Sunday, while the women's lacrosse team closed just its fourth season by beating usually dominant Northwestern.
It's enough to change the lyrics of UF's favorite pep song to “We are the Girls from Old Florida.”