The Beijing Winter Olympics has come to a close. The next 2 stops will be an entirely European affair, with the 2024 Summer Olympics held in Paris and Milano-Cortina host of the Winter Olympics in 2026. Then it will be a hop across the pond to Los Angeles in 2028, after a 26 year U.S. hiatus.
The Summer and Winter Olympics used to be held the same year, but in 1994 they were staggered, permitting more commercial opportunities for the IOC. This year has been most unusual, with only 6 months between the Tokyo Summer and Beijing Winter Olympics due to COVID.
The IOC has announced that the 2024 games in Paris will have 28 gender-equal sports out of 32; that means both male and female events will be held in these disciplines. In Beijing, full gender balance was present in 10 out of 15 sport categories. At the same time, the IOC says that it has been working hard behind the scenes to ensure that women’s events share the same venues as those used by men, while providing equally prominent broadcast slots for television and media coverage.
Although women competed in one-third fewer sports than men in Beijing, the majority of U.S. gold medals in Beijing were won by American women, in events where they competed alone or in mixed sports. Team USA finished in 5th place overall, with 25 medals in total, including 8 gold, 10 silver and 7 bronze. In 2018, 2 fewer Olympic medals were earned by American athletes.
Now the missing piece of the puzzle is for female athletes to have the same financial support and opportunities as their male counterparts, and for there to be more elite female coaches and sports executives.
Here are 5 stand-out U.S. female athletes whose 2022 Olympic gold medals will serve as an inspiration for all:
1. Lindsey Jacobellis
Lindsey delivered the first gold medal earned by any American at the Beijing Winter Olympics. With her team-mate, Nick Baumgartner, Lindsey won gold in the first-ever mixed-team snowboard cross event. In addition, she won gold in the (single gender) women’s snowboard cross. At 36 years old, Lindsey is the most decorated female snowboard cross athlete of all time
“It’s incredibly important to lay the foundation for the future of women’s snowboarding … so that we can pass along our experiences to the next generation.” (Lindsey Jacobellis)
2. Ashley Caldwell
With team-mates Christopher Lillis and Justin Schoenefeld, 28 year old Ashley won gold in the first-ever mixed-team aerials. It’s hard to believe that this young woman hates the cold!
“Being athletic, healthy and competitive is not gender exclusive. I want to be the best – I don’t care if I am a boy or a girl.” (Ashley Caldwell)
3. Kaillie Humphries
The world’s most successful female bobsledder, 36 year old Canadian-American Kaillie won gold in the first-ever Olympic monobob competition. The victim of coaching abuse, harassment and an unsupportive Canadian sporting body, Kaillie’s fresh start as an American is a huge loss for her home country, but a huge, well-deserved victory for this incredibly accomplished athlete
“I have to be who I am. I have to be strong.” (Kaillie Humphries)
4. Erin Jackson
Erin is the first black woman to win an Olympic 500m speedskating medal for the United States. She also broke a 12 year U.S. gold medal drought in speedskating, finally putting the Country on the podium in Beijing. It is hard to believe that it has been 20 years since American bobsledder Vonetta Flowers became the first black American athlete to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics. Thank you, Erin, for reminding us of the importance of ensuring that more black athletes continue on the same path
“It is never too late to start your impossible … you just have to put the work in.” (Erin Jackson)
5. Chloe Kim
A second-generation Korean-American, Chloe defended her Olympic title and became the first woman to win 2 gold medals in women’s halfpipe
“For some reason I’m pretty good at pressure … The one thing I learned is to just give everything a shot.” (Chloe Kim)
To be a great athlete, many pieces of the puzzle must be put together. A laser-focus is essential. We like the Women’s Sports Foundation (founded by tennis player Billie Jean King) because it singularly focuses on advancing the lives of girls and women through sports and physical activity.
“When we move, we’re better. It’s when we stand still that we’re in trouble … start today to change tomorrow so that every girl and woman can realize her power.” (Billie Jean King)
Now take what you’ve learned and play today’s Olympic Rewind Trivia Quiz of the Day:
1. Download Quizefy app.
2. 250 free gems will be instantly deposited in your name
3. Start playing immediately for free
4. Have fun and Strut Your Smart!