The 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang was a big year for women. For the first time in 20 years, American women beat their male counterparts in how many gold medals they won, earning five of the nine medals.
The last time women out-performed their male teammates was in the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, winning 8 of their 13 medals.
Women particularly excelled in snowboarding, cross-country skiing, and hockey this year. Because of how well they were doing, nearly 52 percent of NBCSN Olympic coverage came from women’s events.
Arguably, women in the Olympics have a harder time than men because many restrictions were put on women’s teams. For many years, the National Olympic Committee limited the number of women athletes they sent because they would have to pay extra for a chaperone, something that was not required for male athletes. Also, it was not until 2012 that women were able to participate in all Olympic sports.
Sophomore Sara Umar said, “Equality plays a big role in today’s society, and its concept is prevalent in the Olympics. Women train hard, if not harder, than men; they feel as though they must prove themselves to them and others that they earned their first-place title and that it wasn’t just handed to them because they are attractive. The Olympics is inspiring to future athletes and represents the effort women put in to be respected. As avid Olympic viewers, my sister and I mostly watch figure skating. They are not judged by their costumes or their makeup, but rather their skill and ability to complete their requirements.”
American figure skater Mirai Nagasu became the first woman to land a triple axel at the Olympics. A triple axel consists of the skater jumping up in one direction and requires three-and-a-half rotations, ending with the skater facing in the opposite direction from which she started. This move is considered the hardest move to land in figure skating, but hers was elegant and well-done.
A trio of Nigerian bobsledders made history as being Africa’s first bobsledding team. They officially qualified in November of 2017, and had been training as track-and-field stars before their careers in bobsledding.
Freshman Samira Adam said, “I love that Nigeria has its first bobsledding team competing in the Olympics, especially since it is all women. Although it doesn’t snow in Nigeria, they found ways to practice and persevere. They didn’t let those who looked down on them to stop them from doing what they love. They are challenging the Nigerian societal norms because they are empowering women not only from Nigeria, but other countries as well, to stand equal to their male counterparts.”
Composed of Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere, and Akuoma Omeoga, the three women became the first to represent Africa, male or female, in bobsledding.
Another first that came with the Olympics this year was the the USA Women’s Hockey team winning its first gold medal in 20 years, beating Canada 3-2. The feminist team boycotted the Women’s World Championships in March 2017 over a fight for fair wages and equality in support for the USA Hockey team.
USA Women’s Hockey player Cayla Barnie said, “To be an Olympic champion is an amazing feeling; we worked so hard for this moment, and I am really excited to bring it back and share it with a bunch of young girls.”
Which one of the women in the USA Olympics stood out to you the most?