10 Reasons We’re Excited for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics

The Winter Olympics in PyeongChang is just around the corner this February 2018. Aside from being Korea’s second Olympics, PyeongChang 2018 it is notable for many reasons, including the fact that it is airing the same week as the SuperbowI for the first time in history (talk about a week for television).

Here’s why we’re so excited to see some #girlpower at the Olympics:

  1. Originally named ‘Winter Sports Week’, the first Winter Olympics was held in 1924 in Chamonix, France. 258 athletes from 16 countries attended competing in 16 different events, and only 11 of those athletes were women, making up 4% of those who attended.
  2. Two of the most popular sports, figure skating (1908) and hockey (1920) were originally included in the Summer Olympics program back when the games would stretch over the span of many months. Both sports were moved to the Winter Olympics when it debuted in 1924.

3. Women were only permitted to compete in figure skating and mixed pairs in the Winter Olympics up until 1948 when skiing was introduced.

4. Speaking of skiing- Women’s Ski Jumping did not debut until 2014 in Sochi, Russia while Men’s Ski Jumping has been a part of the program since the first Olympics in Chamonix in 1924. (Shout out to Lindsey Van who lead a decade long fight for the events inclusion)

5. In 2014, more than 40% of the athletes in the Sochi Olympic games were women. Want to hear something more impressive? Later that year, 49% of the athletes at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China were girls.

6. PyeongChang 2018 projects to host over 6,500 athletes from around 95 nations will compete in a record-breaking 102 medal events. This is the first Winter Olympics to host over 100 medal events.

7. PyeongChang is also the smallest city to host an Olympics, summer or winter, since the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.

8. Nigeria’s female bobsled team will compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics, meaning the three athletes, Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omega will make history becoming the first in any sport to represent their country in the games.

9. For the first time in 20 years the National Hockey League will not pause the season to participate in the Winter Olympics. NHL players were not permitted to play in the games until 1998. Let’s hope for another ‘Miracle on Ice’ this year.

10. The mascot for PyeongChang 2018 is a white tiger named ‘Soohorang’. The white tiger is figure in Korean mythology seen as a guardian that protects the country and its people. The white is also said to be representative of the snow and ice of the Winter Olympic game. Either way, he’s pretty darn cute.

At Girls in the Game, we recognize that the benefits of sports participation extend beyond health and wellness, and are formative in development of important social-emotional skills such as grit, teamwork and leadership; skills they can take off the field and into the work place. While we look forward to meeting Soohorang, we are even more excited to see so many strong female athletes representing their countries in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. We hope the increased visibility and recognition of these athletes continue to encourage girls to play to sports because if they can see it, we know they can be it.

Next Step

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Madie Anderson is the Grants Coordinator at Girls in the Game