Oregon University basketball player Sedona Prince immediately turned to her popular TikTok page after seeing the stark differences between the women's and men's weight rooms at the NCAA tournament, which kicked off in Texas yesterday.
Her video — showing that the women's training area was only provided with six pairs of dumbbells, while the men's was furnished with numerous training racks, bars, plates, dumbbells and benches — quickly went viral and has now enacted real change in the form of a new women's weight room.
"I had no idea it would be at this level, I just made a TikTok and I put it on Twitter because I wanted it to get more exposure," Prince told CNN. "And as soon as Steph Curry quote tweeted it, I was like 'Okay this is going to be pretty big.' "
The athlete added, "I didn't really know if there was going to be a change or not but now that there has been I'm really happy. And all the rest of the girls here are very excited to use our new weight room."
The new weight room now has all the equipment one would expect for athletes competing at the most important college basketball event of the year, including heavier weights, as shown in a video of sports reporter Holly Rowe touring the facility.
Amid the backlash, NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt apologized for the controversy and Vice President of Women's Basketball, Lynn Holzman, admitted the organization "fell short."
"I'm a former women's basketball student athlete and it's always been my priority to make this event the best possible experience for everyone involved," Holzman said in a video statement. "This is my passion — I care about women's basketball and women in sport. We fell short this year in what we've been doing to prepare in the last 60 days for 64 teams to be here in San Antonio and we acknowledge that."
While on CNN, Prince said that "now that there's been action," all has been forgiven.
"I think there's this big misconception that women don't need to lift weights," she said. "And especially at my level if we don't then we can't perform at our best and so with the weights that were provided we can't become the best of our abilities.
"That kind of message of 'you don't need it, the men need it'— that was portrayed, but it's all forgiven," Prince added.
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In another interview with MSNBC, Prince said her team is "excited to be together and life weights."
When asked what change she wants to see in the future, Prince said "more equality."
"And to be represented in a way that we feel special and we feel like we are true division 1 athletes," she continued. "Just make our NCAA experience what we all hoped it would be."
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