Confidential: Athletes weigh in on Winter Olympics 2018
This story appears in ESPN The Magazine's Feb. 19 Gold Rush issue, a collaboration with espnW. Subscribe today!
FROM THEIR FAVORITE for flag bearer to the changes they'd champion, 105 Olympians (men and women) weigh in on the Games' biggest issues -- and don't always see eye to eye.
Which Winter Olympics event would you pay the most money to see live?
Ice hockey 30 percent
Snowboard 15 percent
Freestyle skiing 14 percent
Do you think sexual harassment is an issue in your sport?
Yes 16 percent
No 81 percent
Not sure 3 percent
A quarter of women say it's an issue, compared with 9% of men.
If it's not harassment, it's 'Women's sports are taking away from men's sports; you guys shouldn't be here.'" -- Women's snowboarder on comments she endures
Whom would you pick to be the United States' flag bearer?
Lindsey Vonn 31 percent
Elana Meyers Taylor 24 percent
Shaun White 20 percent
Meghan Duggan 17 percent
White is a hit among men (23% picked him), but only 15% of women agree.
If you were president of the IOC, what would be the first change you'd make?
Better/more winter-appropriate location 18 percent
Increased pay for athletes 12 percent
Equity for women's sports 10 percent
Equality is a top priority for women (24%) but not for men (2%).
Will the IOC's ruling on Russia spark real change in the antidoping movement?
Yes 42 percent
No 48 percent
Not sure 10 percent
Would you support a U.S. athlete who protested during the anthem on the medal podium?
Yes 44 percent
No 46 percent
Depends on subject of protest 10 percent
In light of climate change, do you worry about the future of your sport?
Yes 61 percent
No 39 percent
Not all athletes answered every question. The 105 athletes interviewed included Olympians and Olympic hopefuls, 94 Americans and 11 international athletes, and 42 women and 63 men.