Females bridge gender gap

Australia has had a steady increase in female representation at the Games, finally reaching 52% female majority at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games after reaching a 50:50 gender balance at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

Australian women have been competing at the Olympic Games since Sarah "Fanny" Durack and Wilhelmina Wylie swam at the Stockholm Games in 1912. Outnumbered but not outdone by the 21 Australian men, Durack won a gold medal and Wylie won silver in the 100m freestyle. Throughout time the percentage of women on Australian Olympic Teams has continued to grow.

At the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, male and female representation reached 50:50 for the first time with 20 men and 20 women. At the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, for the first time women outnumbered men 31:29 in a 60 strong team, taking the percentage of women to 52%. At Sochi female athletes, Torah Bright (Halfpipe, Silver) and Ladia Lassilia (Aerials, Bronze) won two out of Australia’s total of three medals at these Games.

See the female participation at the most recent Olympics and selected statistics comparing performance by gender below.

Past 11 Summer Olympics (% of females in total team) 

2012 London


2008 Beijing


2004 Athens


2000 Sydney


1996 Atlanta 


1992 Barcelona


1988 Seoul 


1984 Los Angeles


1980 Moscow


1976 Montreal


1972 Munich


Past 10 Winter Olympics (% of females in total team) 

2014 Sochi


2010 Vancouver


2006 Torino


2002 Salt Lake City


1998 Nagano


1994 Lillehammer


1992 Albertville


1988 Calgary


1984 Sarajevo


1976 Innsbruck


Number crunch: Results by gender

  • At the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi two of the three medals were won by women. This represented 67% of Australia’s podium appearances. At the 2012 Olympic Games in London 20 of the 35 medals were won by women. This represented 57% of the podium appearances. This was similar to 2008 in Beijing where Australian women won 58% of the Australian medal haul, leaving men with 42%.
  • On an athlete-per-team-member basis, female Australian Team members have a 36% chance of winning a medal and men have a 22% chance (based on Beijing 2008 results).
  • At the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Australia was the fifth top nation in women's results. Nine Australian athletes achieved a top 10 finish, six of them were women.
  • Australian Women have won seven of Australia’s twelve Winter Olympic medals or 58%. They have been won by four women: Torah Bright (2014, 2010), Lydia Lassila (2014, 2010), Alisa Camplin (2006, 2002) and Zali Steggall (1998).

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