The USA will be sending its most diverse team ever to the winter olympic games in PyeongChang, South Korea. The team is to include the more African Americans, Asian Americans, and openly gay athletes than previous teams.
As the US Olympic committee seeks to expand the level of diversity on its athletic teams, it still faces the difficulty that the team is still mostly white, as USOC’s director of diversity and inclusion Jason Thompson says “We’re not quite where we want to be. . . I think full-on inclusion has always been a priority of Team USA. I think everybody’s always felt it should represent every American.”
While usually smaller than the summer team, the US team is the largest team ever sent to the Winter Olympics, standing at 243 members. Four percent of that team is African American, at a grand total of 10, while only another 10 are Asian American, with the remainder of the team being white. The demographic difference between winter and summer teams is striking. Team USA at the 2016 Summer Olympics stood at 550 members, 125 of which were African American, making up 23 percent.
The USOC has seen where there is much room for improvement in the diversity of the team’s demographics, as well as that of the coaches, sport management, and USOC executives.
Team USA is combating the lack of diversity commonly present on the winter team by including for the 2018 games the first black long-track speed skater, Erin Jackson, the first black hockey player, Jordan Greenway, and the first black short-track speed skater, Maame Biney. Five of America’s bobsledders are also African American.
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