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Zhangjiakou (China) (AFP) – Never before in the history of the Winter Games has female participation been to the same extent as in Beijing 2022, with 45% of athletes competing, compared to 41% four years ago in Pyeongchang, something the increase in which requires a lot to do. Of the mixed events, the IOC and the athletes themselves congratulate themselves.
“It’s really cool,” insisted Canada’s Marion Thinault after finishing third in the new mixed-team show jumping event, speaking of her bronze medal and the IOC’s willingness to boost discipline with both genders competing.
“This means that the team has to be strong in both men and women and this is good for both sexes,” he added.
“It’s really good because this is a male-dominated sport, but here we showed that we have strong teams, which includes women,” insisted the skater, who has won three World Cups.
The paradox of history from the North combined
Since the 2018 Olympics, two women’s events have been added to the Olympic program for a total of 46 events. Four mixed events have been presented in Beijing for a total of 12. More than half of the events scheduled in the Chinese capital (58 out of 109) are open to female participation, although an anachronism persists: the complete absence of the female event in the Nordic countries combined, namely The only sport exclusive to males.
“There’s always room to move forward” in terms of women’s representation in sports, admits Ashley Caldwell, a member of the US team that crowned in acrobatic jump, with the hope that these games can “give value” to female athletes.
“I’ve always tried to make hard numbers to show the world what women can do,” Caldwell adds. “Having more women in high-level sports is great for everyone and leads people to respect women more and exercise.”
For Kate McConnell, director of sports at the International Olympic Committee, higher female representation is “not just a statistic”.
“We have record levels of women’s participation, a record number of women’s sports, and a record number of women’s and mixed events in these games,” he said.
And for the first time in the history of the Olympic Games, a non-dual person openly participates in trials: Timothy Leduc will compete for the United States in the duo skating event, along with Ashley Kane Grebell.
But mixed events do not mean that the same number of male and female athletes compete in them.
The team acrobatic jump event, which the United States won after a tough battle with China and Canada in Genting Snow Park, pitted six three-member teams against each other.
According to the regulations, each team must have at least one male component and one, but in the end the six teams in competition followed the same pattern: they chose two men and one woman.
A “concept” for the Swiss Alexandra Bayer, because the ultimate goal is to achieve a “place on the podium.”
“We are in a time when the level of females is rising and if this continues I think we will be able to make teams of two women and one man. I think it is possible,” he added.
Analysis shared by American Ashley Caldwell: “The United States is incredible because we have so much access to women’s sports and that’s an advantage for me.”
“Translating this to the whole world is incredible and I hope (these games) will be the proof,” he concluded.
© 2022 AFP