This Year’s Winter Olympics’ Female Athletes Empowered Women Far and Wide

The 2018 Winter Olympics have come to an end, but not without making an appearance on the 90th Academy Awards.  At the award ceremony, Sunday night, Francis McDormand began her acceptance speech by giving a shout out to Olympic gold medalist Chloe Kim, comparing the feeling of winning her Oscar to how Kim must have felt winning the Gold. McDormand mentioned one of the most influential female athletes this year and asked that all female nominees at the award show stand up to be recognized, shedding light on the topic of gender equality.

It comes as no surprise that this years’ Winter Olympics had a presence at the Oscars after such historic achievements presented by female competitors. For the first time in two decades, woman on Team USA brought home more medals than the male athletes with a total of 12 out of 23 medals. Team USA won a total of nine gold medals; five were achieved by women during groundbreaking athletic performances. Not to mention the hard-earned Olympic gold received by the USA women’s hockey team over Canadian rivals during a 20-minute overtime session, winning the first gold for the country since the women’s competition debuted in 1998.

Statistics show that there is still a significant amount of underrepresentation of women in the Winter Olympics. Female ski jumpers were not included in the Olympics until four years ago. Even in 2018, the normal hill competition, remains the only event for women while men have normal hill, large hill, and team competitions. The bobsled track faces similar issues as the sport refers to the disciplines as “two-man” and “four-man,” regardless of gender. In addition, press officials received tons of backlash when female reporters were not called on during Olympic gold medalist, Shaun White’s press conference, when questioned about sexual misconduct allegations towards women.

There were a number of female athletes from the 2018 Winter Olympics that completely crushed it, leading the way for other female athletes and serving as an inspiration to women of all ages.

Female empowerment was a prominent trend in this year’s Winter Olympics as athletes Lindsey Vonn and Elana Meyers Taylor nailed their performances and commented on the topic. “To win our medal on the same day as some of these incredible women, it was, yes, girl power, women roar, it was such a magical day,” Taylor said. “Hopefully the young girls see that, and they want to follow their dreams,” Vonn said.

Athletes Lindsey Vonn, Chloe Kim, and Ester Ledecka embody the guts, confidence, and perseverance it takes to win against big odds.

Vonn, the oldest woman to medal in alpine skiing, plans on continuing her career for another season in hopes to chase the overall World Cup wins record of 81 victories. She is just six wins short of this goal. Vonn’s absolute passion may be key to her success.

Previously referred to as “The Future of Women’s Snowboarding,” Chloe Kim is just 17-years-old, making her the youngest halfpipe medalist and second youngest snowboarding medalist. Kim lived up to the public’s expectations during the women’s snowboarding halfpipe event with tremendous grit and spunk, even under all the pressure in the world. This unique combination and her lack of fear is a fresh addition to the sport.

You could say that Ester Ledecka was an underdog, shocking the world when she secured the gold medal in the women’s Super-G on skis she borrowed from Michela Schifferin. Ledecka is the first woman in the Winter Olympics’ history to win gold in two different sports, snowboarding and alpine skiing, at the same Olympic games. She showed the world not to count her out, and came out on top, all while remaining very humble in her response to the wins.

Women have to have a tenacious understanding of what they want and overcome any obstacles along the way. What truly separates this year’s results from the past is the demand for expansion and recognition towards women in the events. The willingness to bring something different to the table and using it to their advantage along with the hunger to fight, is why they were so successful this year. The 2018 Winter Olympics allows us to continue to follow women on the journey of gender equality and gives us high hopes for the future. Female athletes will keep pushing for proper funding, resources, and number of events in the Winter Olympics for the years to follow, as they continue to uplift young girls and women all around the world.