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[Jul. 31st, 2012|11:28 am]
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[radiantsoul]
Why are so many olympic sports split on the basis of gender. I guess it makes sense in events where men are quicker or stronger, but things like gymnastics, archery, shoting, sailing, etc?
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[User Picture]From: hatsumomo
2012-07-31 10:30 am (UTC)

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Female and male gymnasts do different apparatus. The others, I don't know.
[User Picture]From: a_pawson
2012-07-31 10:53 am (UTC)

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Because physical strength is a key part of all of the above sports - the exception from the ones you listed being shooting. It wouldn't be a level playing field.

As far as I know the only sports in which men & women compete against each other are the horse-riding events where I guess it is down to the strength of the horse rather more than that of the rider.
[User Picture]From: radiantsoul
2012-07-31 11:55 am (UTC)

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It is nevera level playing field though. Atheletes are genetically superior to us.
[User Picture]From: hotclaws
2012-07-31 01:11 pm (UTC)

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lol,brilliant parody
[User Picture]From: biascut
2012-07-31 02:25 pm (UTC)

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With sailing, I would have thought it would depend on what class you're in. You definitely use a lot of strength in sailing, but if you're looking at winching in a 12sq m sail in a force 5 wind, then so much of the difference between the actual force you're talking about and the strength required to do it comes down to the gears in the winches that the relative difference between men's strength and women's strength is pretty minuscule. Except that I'd bet most winches have been designed for men's average strength rather than women's.

With small dinghy sailing, would physical strength really make that much difference compared to being nimble, having quick reflexes, being able to think strategic and really understanding how your boat works and what the wind and water are doing?

I suspect the differences are much more to do with there being more opportunities for men to learn to sail and therefore more men involved in sailing, so if men and women competed against each other, you'd end up with an overwhelmingly, perhaps exclusively, male elite. But then, you could equally use that argument to say you needed to have separate classes for BME sailors.

aaand somewhere around here, my point is ... I suspect that having separate men's and women's sports for something like sailing is more to do with the social differences between the genders and how we see them than the pure biological differences.
[User Picture]From: bopeepsheep
2012-07-31 09:37 pm (UTC)

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Sailing is in fact one of the few* sports where there are mixed gender events in the Olympics, so it's not the best example!

*Equestrianism, sailing, and the mixed doubles badminton & tennis events, IIRC, and tennis is new this year (well, returning from 88 years off).

Edited at 2012-07-31 09:37 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]From: biascut
2012-08-01 09:01 am (UTC)

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Which sailing events are mixed? I know there are plenty of other mixed-sex sailing competitions, so it doesn't surprise me, but looking at the Olympics website, I can't see any that aren't labelled men's or women's.
[User Picture]From: bopeepsheep
2012-08-01 09:06 am (UTC)

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Ah, dammit, this year they're not! But previously they have been, and in 2016 they will be too. Sod's law, the time I want to use them as an example they're not - they have had a variety of classes including Open (anyone), OF (at least one female crew member), F&M (1 of each), and so on.

Amend it to "traditionally it's one of the few sports..." :)
[User Picture]From: cuppykate
2012-07-31 10:55 am (UTC)

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I heard it was because Men have more upper body strength naturally, I think this makes a difference in a lot of sports (even gymnastics and archery etc)

From: youfuckingwhat
2012-08-01 11:29 am (UTC)

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in gymnastics wouldn't the women benefit from being lighter though, requiring less upper body strength to lift themselves
[User Picture]From: cuppykate
2012-08-01 12:44 pm (UTC)

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I'm sure they would, yeh!
[User Picture]From: southernmyst
2012-07-31 11:48 am (UTC)

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I've been wondering that myself. It seems mostly something leftover from an antiquated view of women as "the fairer sex" that won't go away. Mostly, but not completely: if you look at, say, running times for men and women in the same thing, among the elite, the mens' times are always faster. From what I understand, we don't really know why -- there's a lot of common knowledge about the differences, but these are only based on kernels of truth, since the truth is so very complex, and not fully understood yet by anyone. Until and unless we ever do, we've apparently got to put up with sports segregated by sex (and woe betide you if you're anything other than ordinary male or ordinary female), because that's how it's always been done.
[User Picture]From: southernmyst
2012-07-31 01:17 pm (UTC)

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Or for something not tinged with my own cynicism on the matter, have this that explains part of it:
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22123-ye-shiwens-olympic-swim-gold-not-impossible.html
[User Picture]From: a_pawson
2012-07-31 01:22 pm (UTC)

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What exactly is not understood? There is rather a lot of evidence that on average men are taller and stronger than women.
[User Picture]From: hotclaws
2012-07-31 01:12 pm (UTC)

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Shooting and some sailing could go mixed but mostly it's because the women would be at a disadvantage,
[User Picture]From: radiantsoul
2012-07-31 01:38 pm (UTC)

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I guess so.
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[User Picture]From: hotclaws
2012-08-06 08:56 pm (UTC)

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It's to do with recoil,honestly,I'm starting to think you are trolling.