2022 saw a fantastic Winter Olympic Games taking place in Beijing with many female athletes making history and denoting some of the best moments and performances of the games.
Women competed for the first time in the 1900 Olympic Games, where 22 of the 997 athletes were female. We would have to wait until the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo for equal representation of male and female athletes, with 49% being women. Although slightly lower than 2020, women still accounted for 45% of the athletes in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, making history as the most gender-balanced Olympic Winter Games ever.
After a slow start to the 2022 Winter Olympic Games for Team GB, team Muirhead came to the rescue. The curling team made it through to the semi-finals ranked third after the Round Robin, thanks to a better Draw Shot Challenge score than Japan and Canada who they were tied with. Putting up a brilliant performance against the favourites Sweden, team Muirhead were through to the final. The final against Japan was somewhat one-sided, as GB won with 10-3 and took home the nation's only gold medal of the games.
Over in speedskating, several female athletes made history at the Beijing games. Team Germany’s Claudia Pechstein broke the record for most Winter Olympic Games for a woman in her eighth appearance, and at the same time became the oldest woman competing in the Winter Olympics. Not only has she competed in eight Olympic Games, she’s also won five Olympic gold medals in total!
USA’s Erin Jackson became the first black woman to win a speedskating event as she won the gold in the 500m. The same performance also made her the first American woman to win the event since the 1994 games. Another speedskater who made history was Dutch Irene Scouten, who won gold and broke the Olympic records in both the 3000m and 5000m - records that were previously held by Claudia Pechstein!
We also wanted to highlight the snowboarding event from the Winter Games. The then 20-year-old snowboarder Zoi Sadowski-Sinnott made her whole nation proud as she won the Slopestyle event and brought home New Zealand's first ever gold medal in an Olympic Winter Games. She followed up the success with a silver medal in the Big Air event, also becoming the first New Zealander to win multiple medals at the same Olympic Winter Games.
The historic moments were piled up at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, our highlights above only accounting for a fraction of them. With the next Winter Games being just over 3 years away, let's hope for an even more gender-balanced Winter games. But first, we get to enjoy the Olympic Summer Games next year in Paris! It will most definitely be an exciting sporting year, again!