18 U.S. Women Who Made History At The PyeongChang Olympics And Paralympics

By Todd Kortemeier | March 29, 2018, 1:47 p.m. (ET)

 

Another Olympic and Paralympic season is in the books, but the memories made at the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang will endure far beyond 2018.

Many of those memorable moments were made by the women of Team USA, some of whom accomplished things that have never been done before, some continued careers that already had them in the history books and others announced their arrival on the Olympic stage in the biggest way possible.

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Here are 18 of the U.S. women who made Olympic or Paralympic history in 2018:


1) Jamie Anderson, Snowboarding

The slopestyle gold medalist from Sochi 2014, Jamie Anderson made history in PyeongChang as the first U.S. female snowboarder to win more than one Olympic gold medal. She remains the only woman to win gold in slopestyle, which debuted in 2014. Anderson also competed in the Olympic debut of big air snowboarding, taking home the silver.

 

2) Maame Biney and Erin Jackson, Speedskating

Maame Biney (L) and Erin Jackson are the first black women to compete on a U.S. Olympic Speedskating Team. Biney competes in short track, and Jackson competes in long track. Biney was born in Ghana and immigrated to the U.S. at age 5 to live with her father. She started out figure skating before a coach recognized her gift for speed and turned her toward speedskating. Jackson is a remarkable story in her own right, having been a longtime inline skater and roller derby competitor with minimal experience on ice. By the time of the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, she had only been competing for about four months.

 

3) Kelly Clark, Snowboarding

Age is just a number for Kelly Clark, as the 34-year-old made her fifth Olympic appearance in PyeongChang. She became the first American and first female of any country to compete in snowboarding at five Olympics. Fellow halfpipe champion Chloe Kim was only 22 months old when Clark won gold in Salt Lake City in 2002. Clark just missed the podium in PyeongChang but remains the most decorated female snowboarder in history with three Olympic medals and more than 70 wins in professional competition.

 

4) Jessie Diggins, Cross-Country Skiing

Coming off a silver in sprint and bronze in team sprint at the world championships, Diggins was the main U.S. hope in a sport not known for American Olympic success. Competing in the team sprint with Kikkan Randall, Diggins dug deep to find more speed on the third lap, propelling herself past two skiers, including individual sprint gold medalist Stina Nilsson at the finish line. It was Team USA’s first cross-country gold, first cross-country women’s medal and first cross-country medal in 42 years. Equally as historic, Diggins achieved the best finish ever for U.S. women’s skiers in each of the six events she raced.

 

5) Kendall Gretsch, Para Nordic Skiing

Kendall Gretsch only started skiing as a way to train for triathlon, a sport in which she is a three-time world champion. But it turned out that she made her Paralympic debut on snow in PyeongChang. Gretsch won gold in the sitting 6-kilometer biathlon and sitting 12K cross-country the next day. Her biathlon gold medal was the first in the sport for any American athlete, male or female, at either an Olympic or Paralympic Winter Games.

 

6) Becca Hamilton, Curling

Becca Hamilton was the only woman of any nation to pull double curling duty in PyeongChang as the mixed doubles discipline made its Olympic debut. Competing with her brother Matt (who also competed in men’s curling), Hamilton finished second-best among women in mixed doubles shot percentage. She also threw lead on Nina Roth’s rink in the women’s tournament, finishing second in shot percentage among leads.

 

7) Brenna Huckaby, Para Snowboarding

Just call Brenna Hucakby “Ms. Perfect.” Huckaby was the only Paralympian to go undefeated at the Games, winning gold in snowboardcross and banked slalom in the LL1 class. Banked slalom made its Paralympic debut in 2018, making Huckaby the sport’s first-ever Olympic gold medalist.

 

8) Chloe Kim, Snowboarding

Already an X Games champion since the age of 14, Chloe Kim was set to take the world by storm at the Olympic Games. Too young to compete in Sochi, she qualified for the 2018 team at 17. With her win in halfpipe, she is the youngest woman to win an Olympic snowboarding gold medal. She is also the first American to win gold at both the Youth Olympics, which she did at the Lillehammer 2016 Games, and the Olympics. The Games were particularly special for the Korean-American Kim, who speaks Korean fluently and still has family living in South Korea.

 

9) Oksana Masters, Para Nordic Skiing

Already a decorated Paralympian, Masters fought through an elbow injury in PyeongChang that threatened to derail her entire Games when she was forced to pull out of her third race. Nevertheless, the eight-time Paralympic medalist won two golds, two silvers and a bronze in PyeongChang, becoming the most decorated athlete in U.S. para Nordic skiing history.

 

10) Elana Meyers Taylor, Bobsled

A bronze medalist in 2010 and silver medalist in 2014, Elana Meyers Taylor kept alive a medal streak for U.S. women’s bobsled dating back to 2002, when women made their debut at the Games. Meyers Taylor won another silver in PyeongChang, which also tied her with Steven Holcomb and Patrick Martin as the most decorated U.S. bobsledders. Meyers Taylor also ties Canada’s Kallie Humphries as the only women to win three Olympic bobsled medals.

 

11) Mirai Nagasu, Figure Skating

Mirai Nagasu made her return to the Winter Games after debuting in Vancouver eight years prior. She had since become known for something rarely seen in women’s figure skating: the triple axel. Nagasu had first landed hers in competition in 2017, the second U.S. woman to do so internationally. In PyeongChang, during the team event, she became the first American woman to ever land the jump at an Olympic Games, and just the third athlete in the world.

 

12) Amy Purdy, Para Snowboarding

Amy Purdy improved on her bronze in snowboardcross from 2014, winning silver in the discipline in PyeongChang, and also adding a bronze in banked slalom. Her three career Paralympic medals make her the first and only U.S. snowboarder to win that many.

 

13) Kikkan Randall, Cross-Country Skiing

Besides her historic gold with teammate Diggins, Randall made history in her own right as the first U.S. cross-country skier to compete in five Olympic Winter Games. She also was the only mother on the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team, having given birth to her son Breck in 2016.

 

14) Maia Shibutani, Figure Skating

Maia Shibutani and her brother Alex became the first ice dancers of Asian descent to win an Olympic medal when they helped Team USA win bronze in the team event. The Shibutanis then went on to add another bronze in the ice dance event later in the Games. 

 

15) Mikaela Shiffrin, Alpine Skiing

After becoming the youngest slalom gold medalist in Olympic history in 2014, Shiffrin entered PyeongChang as the favorite to repeat. After fighting through days of weather-related postponements, Shiffrin came up just short of the podium in slalom, finishing fourth. But she captured gold in giant slalom and silver in super combined, making her one of just three American alpine skiers with Olympic medals in three different events, and one of four with at least three Olympic medals. But at just 22 (now 23), Shiffrin was the youngest to do both.

 

16) Lindsey Vonn, Alpine Skiing

Lindsey Vonn made a career out of making history since becoming the first American woman to win gold in downhill in 2010. Vonn battled through numerous injuries just to make it to PyeongChang, where she won bronze in downhill and became, at 33, the oldest women’s alpine skier to win an Olympic medal.

 

17) U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team

Not only did the U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team erase a 20-year gold-medal drought, it did so in thrilling fashion against its biggest rival. The U.S. met Canada for Olympic gold for the fifth time, with the U.S. having just one win, in 1998. But this time was different, as the U.S. got a late tying goal that sent the game into overtime. After a scoreless extra frame, Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson potted a highlight-reel goal in the shootout, followed by Maddie Rooney stopping her fourth of six attempts to seal a U.S. victory.

18) Heather Bergsma/Brittany Bowe/Mia Manganello/Carlijn Schoutens, Speedskating

The U.S. women’s hockey team wasn’t the only crew of skaters to end a long drought. Speedskaters Heather Bergsma, Brittany Bowe, Mia Manganello and Carlijn Schoutens won bronze in team pursuit, the first long track speedskating medal for the U.S. women since 2002. And it was the first medal in women’s team pursuit for the U.S.

 

Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.