The Lesson for Equality Winter Olympics (2017)

by RJ Johnson

The first Winter Olympics event dates back to the period of January 25th, 1924 – February 5th, 1924. The event was hosted in Mont Blanc in Chamonix and in Haute-Savoie, France. This was the ice cold kind of atmosphere that got the snowball rolling. 

These games consisted of 247 men and 11 women from 16 different nations. At the time, there were only 18 events to compete in, such as ski jump, bobsledding, and hockey. 

Throughout the years, many different ethnic groups began taking part in these Winter Olympic games, whereas initially the athletes were predominately white.

2018 truly marks a special year for the Winter Olympics. More than ever this year, the games are strongly pushing diversity and acceptance. With 10 African-Americans and 11 Asian-Americans competing for the United States of America this year, the world is increasingly becoming more aware of the diversity present in modern America.

Jordan Greenway has overcome a 98-year-old racial obstacle this year, becoming the first African American to suit up for the USA Hockey team. Also, Asian-Americans Alex and Maia Shibutani became the first ever ice dancers of Asian descent to win an Olympic medal for the U.S. 

In the desperate times that the United States is facing when it comes to several different racial issues, accomplishments like these are huge eye-openers for us all as a society.

These accomplishments by these “minorities” are a constant reminder of all the things we could possibly overcome if we decide to unify as one, relaying the ever powerful message of unity and equality for all. 

The Nigerian women’s bobsledding team also emerged this year as the first African country to compete in the sport. As snow is certainly not common in Nigeria, these women had to go above and beyond to practice for these Winter Olympics, using makeshift sleds and courses to practice back home. Even though they placed last in the race, it still showed a lot of heart and initiative to get out there. 

“It’s good to see the world finally catching up,” says Aja Evans, a track and field star representing America from Chicago. 

Not only have many racial barriers been broken in this year’s Winter Olympics, but a tremendous amount of acceptance has been shown as well. The acceptance of the LGBT community in this year’s Winter Olympics has been huge. 

Pyeongchang’s Olympics have seen more publicly open homosexual athletes than ever before. The most noticeable of these openly gay athletes was Canada’s Eric Radford, as he became the first openly gay Olympian to claim gold at a Winter Games event.

Pyeongchang took a totally different approach than Russia did in the last Winter Olympics. Russia made it clear that they had no acceptance for homosexuality whilst hosting in 2014. This tone was set by Sochi’s mayor Anatoly Pakhomov, as he openly stated that there were no gay people in his city, trying to protect Russia’s pride and integrity. 

There have been plenty of instances of acceptance and, sadly, disapproval of the gay community domestically and internationally, as the Winter Olympics have shown. The same goes for the discrimination and hate faced by minority groups fighting for equality alongside them.

At the end of the day, we should all accept each other, and set our own pride aside to be able to understand. Understanding is one of the most important parts of acceptance. 

Let’s let the minority become the majority. 

 

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