Women set to make history at 2024 Paris Olympics

Women were not allowed to compete at the Olympic Games until the 1900 Paris Olympics. Now, 124 years later, female athletes will make history in the same city at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Reflecting over a century of progress, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has allocated its approximately 10,500-athlete quota spaces equally among men and women for the 2024 Paris Olympics. This milestone marks the first time in history an equal number of men and women will compete at the Olympics.

“We are about to celebrate one of the most important moments in the history of women at the Olympic Games, and in sport overall,” said Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee.

“We will see the results of the enormous efforts made by the Olympic movement and female trailblazers come to life,” Bach added. “This is our contribution to a more gender-equal world.”

The number of medals available to male and female athletes will also be the most balanced in history following the addition of disciplines once only offered to men, such as the Canoe sprint and the 15,000-meter freestyle swim (one of Katie Ledecky’s most dominant events), at the Tokyo Games. Additionally, 28 of the 32 sports at the Paris Olympics will be fully gender equal. 

However, the number of medals awarded to female athletes will still be slightly fewer than those awarded to male athletes. The 2024 Paris Olympics will include 329 medal events — 152 for women, 157 for men, and 20 for mixed-gender teams.

Women competed in the Olympics for the first time at the 1900 Paris Games, where they represented just 2.2% of the field and were limited to just five events: tennis, sailing, croquet, equestrianism and golf. Since then, female participation has steadily increased. 

The 2012 London Olympics marked the first time each National Olympic Committee (NOC) sent a female athlete to the Olympics, as well as the first time women could compete in all sports with the addition of women’s boxing. Still, women comprised only 44% of the athlete field. Before the 2024 Paris Games, the Tokyo Olympics were the closest to achieving gender parity, with women making up 48% of competing athletes.

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