This year’s Winter Olympics will have more women competing at the games than ever before in history, outnumbering men for only the second time in American sports history. Out of America’s 243 athletes at this year’s games in PyeongChang, South Korea, 118 are women.
This is an increase from when there were 107 female competitors back in 2010 at Vancouver. That was already a historic amount due to it being the most Team USA had sent to any winter games yet and also marked a record high for female competitors representing America at any Olympics ever.
But while having more women than men competing for Team USA is a momentous achievement, the numbers don’t mean much in terms of overall success at the games. American men have won more medals than any other country’s male athletes for fifteen straight winter games; while women haven’t proved to be quite as dominant on their home turf, winning eighty percent of the medals America has brought home this year.
“I think it’s great anytime you can see more female athletes across all sports,” said U.S. Olympic bobsled coach Brian Shimer when asked about the record number of female competitors this year. “It’s good for young girls to see that there are opportunities for them in sports.”
And that sentiment was shared by his fellow coach, U.S. Olympic women’s head hockey coach Robb Stauber who said, “It’s important to show our female athletes. And it’s great to see more women involved in bobsled and hockey.”
And with the most female competitors ever at a winter games this year, there are certainly increased expectations for Team USA in PyeongChang. It can also be argued that all eyes are on American women specifically, looking to see if they’ll live up to their male counterparts’ successes being that they’re favored in half of the competitions they enter into.
With just under two weeks until the closing ceremony that would place them halfway through these Winter Olympics, there have already been thirteen medals won by female athletes representing America in PyeongChang.
This includes both gold medals America has won so far, which was the first time that’s ever happened at a winter games. And with women already having one more gold medal than men have total medals at the 2018 Winter Olympics, it will certainly be interesting to see how these female athletes represent their country in PyeongChang for the rest of the games.