U.S. speed Skater makes history. Why are there so few Black Athletes in winter Olympics?
Reporter | AnJing in January, the us swimmer, the women’s 500 m speed skating world number one Erin Jackson (Erin Jackson) in Beijing Olympic qualifying accidental error, ranked third.The ranking means Jackson, seen as a favorite, will miss the Beijing Olympics.As the team mourned, her friend and teammate, Brittany Bowe, made the surprise decision to cede her spot to Jackson.Jackson became the first black woman to win a gold medal in an individual speed skating event at the Winter Olympics when she won the women’s 500-meter final in Beijing on Feb. 13.There are fewer black athletes in the Winter Olympics than in the summer Olympics.Historical discrimination, climate constraints in African countries, the high cost of winter sports and income inequality all serve as barriers to black athletes.Skiing, snowboarding and ice hockey are among the most expensive winter sports, according to a US survey.In a national survey of high school students in the United States, only about 1 percent of black students participated in snowboarding outside school.Jackson, 29, was a roller skater for 15 years before turning to speed skating in 2017.As soon as he crossed the line, Jackson did well.At the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Jackson finished 24th in the women’s 500m in speed skating after just four months of training.By 2021, Jackson had won four of eight women’s 500-meter World Cup races.In November of that year, she won the women’s 500-meter Speed skating World Cup, becoming the first black woman to win the award.Image credit: International Skating Union.But in January, Jackson skidded during Olympic qualifying and finished third.Her good friend and teammate Bowie is no. 1 and a shoo-in for the Winter Olympics.In addition to the 500 meters, Bowie was also the speed skating women’s 1,000m and 1,500m Olympic tickets.Bowie, four years Jackson’s senior, made her Olympic debut in 2014, finishing sixth with her teammate in the team pursuit.At the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Bowie and her teammates won the bronze medal in the team pursuit.She is the world record holder in the women’s 1,000m speed skating and carried the flag for team USA at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics.Jackson and Bowie.Like Jackson, Bowie was a roller skater.Jackson followed Bowie from roller skating to speed skating, both from Ocala, Fla.Jackson met Bowie when he was 10 years old and the two grew up together, according to the US Winter Olympics website.Jackson said she idolized Bowie as a child. “She always supported me when I was a kid in the gym,” she said.Bowie also came to Jackson’s aid after he failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics.She told the Olympic website that despite winning the qualifying round, “I didn’t feel happy about winning and I started thinking about how I could get Him back.”On the night of the race, Bowie told Jackson of his decision to step aside for the 500 meters.Bowie said Jackson, who is ranked No. 1 in the world, is well-qualified to compete in the Olympics and has a chance to win a medal for the United States. “If I had the right to make a decision, I wouldn’t hesitate to do anything to get Elin [Jackson] to the Olympics,” he said.After Bowie conceded his spot, the AMERICANS were given a spot in the 500-meter race because other countries dropped out of the race.Bowie eventually joined Jackson in the 500-meter race.Bowie, who finished 16th in the 500, will run the 1,000 on Thursday.Jackson has thanked Bowie in a social media post, praising her as a great friend, teammate and mentor.At Bowie’s 1,000-meter and 1,500-meter races, “I’ll be the one cheering the loudest.”The United States has 225 athletes in Beijing, and fewer than 10 are black, according to team USA’s website, including Kelly Curtis, the first black woman to compete in skeleton bobsled.There are no African American athletes in popular sports like skiing, snowboarding, ice hockey and figure skating.The only black figure skater in Beijing was Vanessa James, a woman from Canada.Vanessa James in pairs figure skating.From 1976 to 2018, only 22 African American athletes competed in the Olympics, according to US media.In pyeongchang 2018, countries sent 43 black athletes, accounting for 1.45 percent of the total athletes.But in the Summer Olympics, black athletes appear more frequently, and track and field events become the home of black athletes.The first Black athletes to win Olympic gold MEDALS and the first black women to compete in the Olympics came at the Summer Games in 1908 and 1936, respectively.In the Winter Olympics, it wasn’t until 1988 that American figure skater Debi Thomas became the first black athlete to win a Winter Olympic medal.She is the only black woman to win a single medal in figure skating at the Winter Olympics.Part of the dearth of black athletes at the Winter Olympics has to do with history.Elladj Balde, a former Canadian figure skater, told NBC News that in the early days of figure skating, black athletes were not allowed to join figure skating clubs or compete in figure skating.During the period of severe racial discrimination in the United States, the skating rink also became a place of racial segregation.Figure skaters have long been pigeonholed as European, short, and supposedly unfit for black bodies.Balder believes that history and subsequent rules have limited black athletes in figure skating.For African countries, weather conditions such as a lack of snow in winter are also limiting factors.African athletes have won more than 400 MEDALS in the Summer Games, but have yet to win any at the Winter Games.In order to increase the participation of African athletes, the International Bobsleigh Federation adopted the principle of allocating the quota of athletes by continent during the 2018 Winter Olympics.That year, athletes from eight African countries participated in the Winter Olympics, the highest number ever.However, during this year’s Winter Olympics, the International Bobsledding Federation did not follow the practice of allocating quotas by continent, which was questioned by many countries.In response, the Ioc said it supports diversity but also ensures fair competition.This year there were only six competitors from five African countries.In addition to weather conditions and history, the cost of winter sports and income inequality are also important factors affecting black athletes’ participation.Jackson, who made history in the Winter Olympics, said speed skating is expensive and “not something that anyone can just say, ‘I want to try.'”According to a 2019 survey of American parents by Utah State University and the Aspen Institute, it is more expensive for children to participate in ice hockey, skiing and snowboarding than in summer Winter Olympic sports such as basketball, track and field, baseball and golf.A child spends 2,583 dollars a year playing ice hockey, 2,249 dollars skiing and snowboarding, 660 dollars playing basketball, 925 dollars playing golf and 191 dollars playing track and field.According to an Aspen Institute survey of about 6,000 high school students nationwide in the 2020-2021 school year, only 1 percent of black students planned to ski outside of school, while 1 percent planned to play ice hockey outside of school.For whites, it was 4 percent and 3 percent, respectively.Curling, snowboarding, ski jumping and bobsledding, which require expensive equipment and special training venues, are rich sports, with the majority of medal winners coming from rich countries, including Switzerland, the United States, Austria, Norway and Germany, according to the New Yorker’s tally of winter Olympics awards from 1994 to 2010.