Gender equality is breaking out all over the Olympic movement. The Games’ authorities have been introducing new sports every four years to level the numbers. With three Middle East nations entering female participants, every country in the Olympic family is represented by both sexes.

 (Photo by Suzanne Plunkett/REUTERS)

By Mike Tierney, Special to Universal Sports

Last month marked the 40th anniversary of the passage of Title IX, the amendment that, among other things, barred discrimination against women athletes at schools.

The dominoes are still falling from that impactful legislation. The latest example can be found in the gender breakdown of the U.S. Olympic team. For the first time, it tilts toward the women, with 269 athletes — many of whom honed their craft in high school and college. There are 261 men.

The eldest American is equestrian rider Karen O’Connor, 53, a young teen when the law went into effect. The youngest U.S. athlete — swimmer Katie Ledecky, 15 — might not be aware of Title IX, but she belongs to a generation that will fully taste its fruits.

Gender equality is breaking out all over the Olympic movement. The Games’ authorities have been introducing new sports every four years — the latest is women’s boxing — to level the numbers. With three Middle East nations entering female participants, every country in the Olympic family is represented by both sexes.

The makeup of this U.S. roster is a watershed moment for women athletes. Hear them roar.

We will be counting down our top 30 Reasons To Watch each day until opening ceremonies. Check here for more!