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Give them guys!

Colette Dowling: Women and men should compete together in groups of persons having about equal weight and height.


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Русская версия




In the 21st century, representatives of the "weaker gender" will be able to compete on an equal footing with men. There are a lot of reasons to think this. Unprecedented boxing match in which the American female boxer Margaret McGregor defeated the male Canadian of Chinese origin - Loi Chow might confirm this.

Is it possible to see soon ladies and gentlemen competing on the wrestling mats or on running tracks? Maybe the special tests for gender determinations of athletes are no longer needed. Aren't they? For some sports, women's records are getting closer and closer to men's ones. The later ones, in turn, are surprisingly losing their superiority. In the Olympic Games in 2000, the outstanding American track-and-field athlete Marion Jones made the 100-meter distance for just 0.88 seconds longer than her male fellow Morris Green did.

American physiologists have compared the best achievements of men and women in running. It turned out that female athletes keep improving their achievements much faster. If such a tendency remains, the men's and women's world records will become the equal in the first part of the century. For instance, before the WWII the difference in the marathon results for women and men was an hour. In 1999, the difference came to just 15 minutes (for men it was 2 hours and 5.42 minutes, for women - 2 hours and 20.43 minutes).

It has been determined that an average speed of a male sprinter on the 200-meter distance increase by 7 m/min every 10 years, whereas women manage to speed up by 14-19 m/min. As to the Marathon distance, the fairer gender's results increase 4 times as faster as the men's ones do. Similar tendencies are observed in such sports as swimming and triathlon. Ladies much better adapt to water due to the fat layer, which plays the role of thermo insulator. That's why the American Lynne Cox was the first person in the world, who managed to swim across the Bering Strait from Alaska (USA) to Chukotka (USSR) (1987, 2 hr., 6 min). Sixteen years was unbeaten the record of Penny Dean who established English Channel crossing record in 1979 (7 hrs. 40 min).

Ladies training in boxing gyms often refuse to compete against each other. Give them guys! On the ring, they don't want to wear protective helmets, which they claim spoil their haircuts. They don't put on breast protectors claiming they cramp them in free movement like old-fashioned corsets. When female boxers come out into the ring they often behave as infuriated tigresses delivering illegal moves and lunges in attempts to intimidate female (... or male) opponents.

Tall and wide-shouldered, contemporary female athletes become more mannish; the sizes of waist and hips are getting equal. Maybe this is an indication that a gender will play less and less role in sports and eventually IOC will take a breath and stop using special tests in order to determine who is going to compete, male or female.

When a couple of years ago IOC announced it would determine a gender of athletes, many of female athletes just finished their career on sports. Some stood against that considering such tests antihuman and contradicting to the principle of a doctor secret.

Although there are specialists, who claim that Jones' successors will beat the future Greens, the absolute majority of them are convinced that will be unlikely. "If I see such a race, I would be sure it a montage", says Dariush Blahnik from the Institute of Physiology in Warsaw Academy of Physical Education. "In fact, men have more favorable proportions of the muscular mass with respect to total mass, which seems to indicate that nothing will threaten the e men's leaning positions in sports. Even intense training may not provide ladies with testosterone - male sexual hormone responsible for development of muscle mass."

However, the prominent American author and specialist in women's psychology, Colette Dowling adheres to the opposite opinion in her book "The Frailty Myth ". Having analyzed the results of biological, physiological and other researches she came to a conclusion that women can successfully compete with men. She urges to put an end to the traditional picture of women as frail; she contends that it's the culture traditions and stereotypes pictured women weak rather than shortage of muscle mass. After all, if a woman becomes aware of that and gets rid of her weakness, she definitely will be able to overcome a man in the next Olympics. Dowling proposes to determine a winner depending to a person's weight and height

Weekly 2000
February 21, 2001
Irina Suprun

Translated form Russian


Frailty Myth The "Frailty Myth" presents new evidence that girls are weaned from the use of their bodies even before they begin school. By adolescence, their strength and aerobic powers have started to decline unless the girls are exercising vigorously - -and most aren't. By sixteen, they have already lost bone density and turned themselves into prime candidates for osteoporosis. They have also been deprived of motor stimulation that is essential for brain growth. Yet as breakthroughs among elite women athletes grow more and more astounding, it begins to appear that strength and physical skill - for all women - is only a matter of learning and training. Men don't have a monopoly on physical prowess; when women and men are matched in size and level of training, the strength gap closes. In some areas, women are actually equipped to outperform men, due partly to differences in body structure, and partly to the newly discovered strengthening benefits of estrogen.The "Frailty Myth" presents new evidence that girls are weaned from the use of their bodies even before they begin school. By adolescence, their strength and aerobic powers have started to decline unless the girls are exercising vigorously - -and most aren't. By sixteen, they have already lost bone density and turned themselves into prime candidates for osteoporosis. They have also been deprived of motor stimulation that is essential for brain growth. Yet as breakthroughs among elite women athletes grow more and more astounding, it begins to appear that strength and physical skill - for all women - is only a matter of learning and training. Men don't have a monopoly on physical prowess; when women and men are matched in size and level of training, the strength gap closes. In some areas, women are actually equipped to outperform men, due partly to differences in body structure, and partly to the newly discovered strengthening benefits of estrogen.

Drawing on extensive research in motor development, performance assessment, sports physiology, and endocrinology, Dowling presents an astonishing picture of the new physical woman. And she creates a powerful argument that true equality isn't possible until women learn how to stand up for themselves--physically.




>> Women's Strength

>> Woman and sports


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