Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Regardless of wins, female athletes fly economy

By Madison Park, CNN
July 20, 2012 -- Updated 1524 GMT (2324 HKT)
Basketball Australia has vowed to review its travel policy for both basketball teams to ensure
Basketball Australia has vowed to review its travel policy for both basketball teams to ensure "equity."
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Women in Australian basketball team and Japanese soccer team fly economy
  • The men's teams flew in business class to the Olympic games
  • Difference in flights have sparked outrage over how women were treated

(Hong Kong) (CNN) -- The Australian women's basketball team and the Japanese women's soccer team flew in premium economy seats in their flights to Europe, while their male counterparts stretched out in business class.

Nevermind that the women's Australian basketball team has won silver medals in the last three Olympics -- and the Aussie men have won none. And it also mattered little that the women's Japanese soccer team won last year's World Cup.

The difference in how the women's teams traveled has sparked outrage and accusations of sexism. It prompted Basketball Australia to announce that it would review its travel policy "with the goal of ensuring there is equity between travel arrangements for the men's and women's teams attending future Olympics."

That review, which was announced Friday, is expected to take about three months.

Lady boxer breaks Olympic glass ceiling
Olympic athletes arriving in London
Homare Sawa: Soccer star inspires nation
Troops brought in for Olympics security

Basketball Australia quoted Scott Derwin, its acting chief executive, in a statement explaining that each national team has discretion over how their funds are spent, including travel arrangements.

"We should bear in mind that in fact, historically, more funding has been directed towards the Opals," Derwin said in the statement.

The Opals refer to the Australian women's basketball team and the Boomers are the men's basketball team.

The spokeswoman for Basketball Australia declined to comment when reached by CNN on Friday.

In the statement released Friday by the organization, Derwin said: "But the simple fact is when a policy results in gender inequality, it's very clearly not the right policy going forward."

The incoming chief executive officer of Basketball Australia, Kristina Keneally said in the statement, "In this day and age, there's just no excuse for men's and women's sporting teams to be treated differently when they both compete at the same world class level.

"In fact, in this circumstance, the disparity is even more glaring when you consider that our women's basketball team is one of the best in the world - enjoying the number 2 spot in international rankings," Keneally added.

Australia's Minister for Sport, Kate Lundy, agreed.

"They shouldn't have to travel a different class because they're both world class," she said in a statement Thursday.

While saying that travel arrangements are a matter for the national Olympic committee and the relevant national sporting organization, Lundy stated: "My view is that team travel should be equitable for our male and female athletes."

The Japanese Olympic Council confirmed that the Japan Football Association upgraded its male Olympic team to business class and the female team to premium economy. It refrained from commenting on the matter.

Japanese Olympic Council provides its country's Olympic-bound athletes with economy class tickets. It is up to each member association or athletes whether those seats will be upgraded or not.

Japanese netizens were divided about the seating arrangements, with some saying the difference was unfair, while others said the economic reality is that the male team earns more money.

Homare Sawa's Talk Asia Interview

CNN's Judy Kwon and Yoko Wakatsuki contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
August 13, 2012 -- Updated 1353 GMT (2153 HKT)
The moment that Team GB's Mo Farah won the 10,000 meters was a wonderful collision of electricity.
August 13, 2012 -- Updated 1534 GMT (2334 HKT)
His blistering pace and larger-than-life antics made him the king of the track in London, and bolstered his claims to be a "living legend."
August 14, 2012 -- Updated 0944 GMT (1744 HKT)
Disappointment for Nigeria's Muizat Ajoke Odumosu, who came last in the 400m hurdles final, London 2012 Olympics.
The Olympics are generally won and lost long before the opening ceremony cauldron is touched by fire.
August 12, 2012 -- Updated 0738 GMT (1538 HKT)
Fans of the home side, Team GB, wave Union Jack flags during the Olympic Games
CNN's Richard Quest believes the London Games will be regarded as having brought the Olympics concept home.
August 11, 2012 -- Updated 1633 GMT (0033 HKT)
Strategist Alastair Campbell says he never imagined London 2012 would be quite the triumph it turned out to be.
August 14, 2012 -- Updated 2057 GMT (0457 HKT)
Award-winning director Danny Boyle celebrates the best of British music in London 2012's Olympic Closing Ceremony.
January 31, 2013 -- Updated 1452 GMT (2252 HKT)
From Usain Bolt's record-setting achievements to an unexpected Ugandan gold, London 2012 has provided a wide array of highlights.
August 13, 2012 -- Updated 0305 GMT (1105 HKT)
CNN's Amanda Davies recaps the London 2012 Olympics from the opening ceremony on July 27 to the finale on day 16.
August 12, 2012 -- Updated 1702 GMT (0102 HKT)
Mo Farah and Usain Bolt celebrate their success at the London 2012 Olympic Games by copying each other's
It's been just over two weeks since the Queen parachuted into London's Olympic Stadium, her apricot dress flapping in the breeze.
August 15, 2012 -- Updated 1214 GMT (2014 HKT)
When the world's top marathon runners bid to win Olympic gold, they would do well to draw inspiration from one of the greatest athletes in the history of track and field.
August 11, 2012 -- Updated 1633 GMT (0033 HKT)
Team GB supporters with their faces painted in Union Jack designs at the Olympic Stadium in London.
Alastair Campbell always thought London 2012 would be a success, but never imagined it would be quite the triumph it has turned out to be.
August 10, 2012 -- Updated 1021 GMT (1821 HKT)
Adrien Niyonshuti is unlikely to win an Olympic medal, and he will do well to even finish his event, but his story is surely one of the most inspirational.
August 10, 2012 -- Updated 1605 GMT (0005 HKT)
The colors of the Olympic Rings at the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London, August 2012.
Olympic fever has cheered up London and made it a more welcoming place, but will optimism be one of the legacies of the Games?
August 10, 2012 -- Updated 1825 GMT (0225 HKT)
Wojdan Shaherkani's Olympic debut was short, but sweet -- the Saudi judoka said competing at the Games was
London 2012 is the first Olympics to feature women in every national team, with Jacques Rogge hailing a "major boost for gender equality."
August 10, 2012 -- Updated 0040 GMT (0840 HKT)
An impoverished South Korean gymnast has not only struck Olympic gold, but also reaped a $444,000 donation in a veritable rags to riches tale.
August 9, 2012 -- Updated 0046 GMT (0846 HKT)
Britain's hero Jessica Ennis is set to cash in after winning heptathlon gold, but the poster girl of the 2012 Olympics says fame is not her motivation.
August 8, 2012 -- Updated 0746 GMT (1546 HKT)
China is rallying around fallen hurdler Liu Xiang after he failed to make it past the first-round heat for a second consecutive Olympics.
August 3, 2012 -- Updated 1930 GMT (0330 HKT)
The first woman to win Olympic gold almost died in a plane crash, but remarkably returned to run again for the U.S. in 1936.
August 7, 2012 -- Updated 1504 GMT (2304 HKT)
Don Paige could not bear to watch the race he knew he could win. The 1980 Moscow Olympics were the death of a dream for many athletes.
August 4, 2012 -- Updated 1421 GMT (2221 HKT)
Ricardo Blas Jr
While Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt grab the headlines, little-known athletes from around the world keep alive the original spirit of the Olympics.
Athletes spend years eating the right foods ... and then must resist the free fast food in the Olympic village. How do they do it?
ADVERTISEMENT