When Did Women’s Hockey Become An Olympic Sport? [Answered!]

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It was a surprise to many — including many Olympians — when the women’s hockey competition was added to the Olympic program for the first time in 1998.

Though the women’s game had been played at the Olympics since 1912, it wasn’t until after the 1998 Winter Olympics that the sport really took off. And it wasn’t just a blip on the radar; the following two Winter Olympics saw the women’s game feature as a prominently as the men’s. In fact, across all team sports, the number of participants has roughly tripled since then.

Even today, 12 years after its first appearance, women’s hockey is still one of the most popular sports at the Winter Olympics, and it regularly features in the Games’ conversation pieces. The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang will mark the sport’s 20th anniversary of being included on the Olympic program. Here, we look at when did women’s hockey become an Olympic sport, and how has it been perceived since then.

The Game’s Historic Presence At The Olympics

While the exact date that the women’s hockey competition was added to the Olympic program is unclear, it was certainly a surprise for many athletes and coaches when the competition was first introduced. To this day, many people are surprised that women’s hockey was made an Olympic sport.

The earliest record of the game being played at the Olympics dates back to 1912, and it has been an Olympic event ever since. However, it wasn’t until after the 1998 Winter Olympics that the sport really took off. Since then, the participation rate at the Olympics has tripled, and female hockey fans now have something to cheer for at the Games.

Why Was Women’s Hockey Made An Olympic Sport?

It was originally proposed by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) that women’s ice hockey be included in the Winter Olympics in 1992. However, when the Games did not feature any new sports, the proposal was put on hold. The following year, it was decided that women’s ice hockey should be included in the Winter Olympics as a demonstration sport, and it has been played at the Olympics every year since then.

As mentioned, the participation rate in women’s ice hockey has tripled since 1998. The spike can be attributed to the fact that the game was recognized as an official Olympic sport. One of the primary reasons for the IIHF’s proposal to make women’s ice hockey an Olympic sport was to expand the audience. The federation cited that only 2,000 people would normally attend a regular-season women’s hockey game, but they hoped that making it an Olympic sport would bring in ‘‘hundreds of thousands’’. As it turned out, the proposal was right – the crowds have been steadily rising, and women’s ice hockey is now one of the most popular sports at the Winter Olympics. And it wasn’t just a fad; many people still consider women’s ice hockey to be one of the most exciting and dynamic team sports to watch.

It Has A Timeless Appeal

One of the reasons that made the IIHF propose that women’s ice hockey be included in the Winter Olympics in the first place was the game’s ‘‘appeal to all ages and sexes’’. And it is still considered to have one of the most universal player profiles. Women’s hockey is a fast-paced game that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and genders. The IIHF has even stated that due to the game’s popularity, “it would not be surprising to see women’s hockey becoming an Olympic sport on an annual basis in the future.”

Though the game has been around for many years, it has never lost its timeless appeal. Women’s ice hockey is a game that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, and it has proven to be one of the most popular sports at the Winter Olympics over the years. With so much excitement surrounding the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, it will be interesting to see how many people are still cheering for women’s hockey in 20 years – and if there will be a repeat appearance at the Winter Olympics.

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