Women of PyeongChang

The Catalan Queralt Castellet (in the middle) was proclaimed world champion of 'halfpipe' with snowboard last January in Colorado, United States. (Matthew Stockman / AFP)

The Winter Olympics break a good deal of records, but one: participation by women and men has yet not been achieved.

On February 9th, the opening ceremony for the XXIII Winter Olympics will be held. Almost 3,000 athletes will be meeting in PyeongChang, South Korea, representing a hundred different countries.

However, in the middle of the debate on women’s rights and their status within society, where does the female representation in the Winter Olympics stand? Are the teams made up of equal numbers of men and women athletes? Which are the countries whose teams are most equal?

In order to attempt to reduce the inequality in sports, the organizers of the Games have introduced new tests with mixed teams, formed by both men and women.

Women: less than half of the competitors

It is hard to know the total number of women athletes who will be traveling to South Korea. Without much official data, a search needs to be made on each country to find out how many athletes will compete in PyeongChang 2018.

The countries with highest female representation are the United States (242), Canada (226) and Norway (111). Canada is right now the team with the highest female representation (45%).

The Canadian team is formed by 122 men and 103 women athletes. Sports events that have the same number of competitors women as in men are the biathlon, curling, skeleton, short track speed skating and the ski jump.

In contrast, Norway, one of the countries with the longest tradition in winter sports, is far from reaching equality: its team is composed of 82 men and 27 women (24% of the team).

Be that as it may, the athletes who will be taking part in the Winter Olympics are very clear about their aim and are coming to meet them.

A story of personal development

The Spanish team will count on its 12 athletes in this year’s Winter Olympics: ten men and only two women.

Sara Hurtado will compete in figure skating along with Kiril Khaliavin, a Russian Spanish-nationality Russian skater.

The other woman of the team is Queralt Castellet, a snowboard veteran in the half-pipe who recently managed to proclaim herself world champion in this modality.

In 2015, Castellet faced a great personal and professional challenge when her personal coach and partner since the age of 19, died of cancer.

Her professional career is a sign of women’s ability to excel: able to break through in gender inequality, stand out in their specialties and continue despite any personal barrier in their way.

Translated by Chaplin’s Languages | Find out more in Junior Report | Castellano | Català | English


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