The Merciad

Winter Olympics lacking diversity

Marina Boyle, Staff writer

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The Winter Olympics has come under a lot of fire this year for the lack of diversity among athletes.

The higher numbers of white athletes is something that a lot of people choose to disregard because they feel as though it is natural that the Winter Olympics draw contestants mainly from the
Scandinavian and other more northerly regions.

These places generally have white populations and tend to dominate the games.

However, looking at a country as racially diverse as America, it’s disappointing to see that the same problem is represented on our own team.

There is still a lack of ethnic and social diversity at the games, in my opinion.

The United States Olympic Committee said it was proud that its team is the most diverse it has ever fielded at a Winter Olympics.

It is obviously great to see progress, but the most diverse team we have ever fielded has 10 African-American and 10 Asian-American athletes, out of a total of 244. This means that over 80 percent of the US Olympic team is white.

Erin Jackson is the first African-American woman to qualify for the United States long-track speedskating team, and Jordan Greenway is the first ever African-American hockey player on an American men’s team.

Unfortunately, the issue is pretty widespread, not just an American one.

Thirteen athletes from eight African nations will compete in PyeongChang, and this is the largest representation of athletes from African nations in any Winter Games.

There has yet to be a medal awarded to an athlete representing an African country.

I don’t think there’s an entity to blame for the lack of racial diversity, and as I mentioned before, it is simply a fact that winter sport athletes do tend to get drawn from colder, predominantly white regions.

It’s just a pity that young people of color do not see people like themselves represented in the games, and then feel like there’s not a place for them there.

Even the small amount of diversity we did see, such as Mirai Nagasu, the daughter of Japanese immigrants, landing her triple axel, or Adam Rippon, an openly gay figure skater, take bronze — it was still too much for some people to handle.

Fox News had to remove a column from its website last week that sparked widespread controversy for its hateful message.

Editor John Moody criticized the diversity of the U.S. team saying it would win no medals this way.

He wrote: “Unless it’s changed overnight, the motto of the Olympics, since 1894, has been ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger.’ It appears the U.S. Olympic Committee would like to change that to ‘Darker, Gayer, Different.’ If your goal is to win medals, that won’t work.”

The article drew complaints from ordinary readers and many human rights groups, and was then taken down.

However, Moody’s sentiment illustrates perfectly what minority athletes are up against when they compete, and why darker-skinned or LGBTQ athletes can so often feel trapped.

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Winter Olympics lacking diversity