Meet The Women Already Shattering Records At The 2018 Olympics
Historically and perhaps to the surprise of no one, men have typically dominated the field of Olympic athletes—but this year’s lineup offers up a turn in the tide for representation at the games.
According to the Olympics website, "the number of women athletes at the Olympic Games is approaching 50%." And while there are still slightly more men than females participating in the games this year, this statistic is a push in the right direction, for gender parity and sports—especially considering that it was only in 2012 that women were granted access to participate in every Olympic sport.
Every journey to the Olympics is inspiring, but some impressive athletes are pushing boundaries and shattering expectations before the games have even begun. Here are five women to know in preparation for today's opening ceremony:
Nigeria's first-ever bobsled team.
Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere, and Akuonma Omega make up the trio of Nigerian women who will be competing in the 2018 games as representatives for the first-ever African—male or female—bobsled team. All three women are former track and star athletes who banded together to become founding members of Nigeria’s first bobsled team. "I basically got into the sport of bobsledding in 2015 after a little bit of a hiatus from athletics," Onwumere tells People. The team turned to crowdsourcing to fund their Olympic hopes, which eventually landed them a deal with Visa.
The resilient, age-defying skier.
Thirty-three-year-old Vonn is the most decorated female skier in the history of the sport. After an eight-year hiatus from the games, Vonn is competing in South Korea this year, making this her fourth Olympic go-around. Vonn sat out the 2014 Olympics in Sochi due to a back injury, followed by a slew of crashes that ended a few of her seasons prematurely. In professional sports, 33 years old is considered past the prime of most athletes competing at peak level; nevertheless, Vonn secured a spot on this year’s team shortly after winning her 78th World cup, stating, "I guess I’m not a washed-up old hag. I think I proved myself, and karma definitely comes back around. I’ve got some good karma coming my way."
The young superstar.
At the young age of 17, Chloe Kim is set to shatter records as one of the most promising contenders on the women’s snowboard team. The Korean American has been snowboarding since she was 4 years old, winning her first snowboard competition at the age of 8. By the time she was 13 years old, she was already a four-time X Games Champion and qualified for the Olympics, only to be barred from entering the Sochi games because of her young age. Kim’s age is only part of the young star’s allure: She’s also Korean American, born in LA to Korean immigrants. Her rising popularity comes at a fervent time in the country’s ongoing conversation on immigration and representation in media and beyond. Did we mention she’s the only woman ever to nail a back-to-back 1080 at a contest and receive a perfect score of 100? Sounds like gold medal behavior.
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