Star-Bulletin Sports

Thursday, June 27, 2002


Title IX helped
sailing champion

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By Grace Wen

Hawaii sailing coach Andy Johnson said that the Wahine program was lucky to get Molly O'Bryan five years ago. What he may not realize was that luck was only a small part of it.

O'Bryan was born seven years after Title IX, but the UH sailor is very cognizant of the impact it has had on her life. The three-time All-American knows that had it not been for Title IX, she wouldn't have come to Hawaii.

"The whole reason they brought me out here was the women's sailing team," O'Bryan said. "And that didn't come into existence until five years ago. The only reason was because of Title IX. They wanted to even out participation."

O'Bryan said that when Title IX passed 30 years ago, it helped communities recognize that women can be athletes, too. During her five years at Manoa, O'Bryan has proven that. She helped the Wahine capture a national title last year and was active in getting Interscholastic League of Honolulu schools to sponsor sailing.

"With sailing, it's always been pretty even," she said. "What helps with women's sailing is that girls never actually get to skipper or drive a boat, normally. Or they don't have a chance to, because mostly the guys grow up doing it more. So to get a whole division of women's sailing makes it possible.

"There's a stereotype that the more athletic, more competitive person is going to be a guy, compared to a girl. Having a women's sport gives the girls a chance to say, 'Yeah, I can race against the girls. But look, I'm practicing everyday and doing well against the boys.' "

UH Athletics

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