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[Jul. 31st, 2012|11:28 am]
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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?

[User Picture]From: a_pawson
2012-07-31 06:53 am (UTC)
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.
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[User Picture]From: radiantsoul
2012-07-31 07:55 am (UTC)
It is nevera level playing field though. Atheletes are genetically superior to us.
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[User Picture]From: hotclaws
2012-07-31 09:11 am (UTC)
lol,brilliant parody
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[User Picture]From: biascut
2012-07-31 10:25 am (UTC)
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.
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[User Picture]From: bopeepsheep
2012-07-31 05:37 pm (UTC)
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)
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[User Picture]From: biascut
2012-08-01 05:01 am (UTC)
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.
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[User Picture]From: bopeepsheep
2012-08-01 05:06 am (UTC)
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..." :)
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