Friday, 17 June 2011

women playing sports better than men (ii)

'The Melon', as I have taken to calling him, commented excellently a couple of posts ago that women are destined to beat men at ski-jumping, but there is all kinds of messing around about whether they are allowed to compete at Olympics. I am not an absolute expert on this, surprisingly, and do follow his link to what is at the very least an interesting story, but I have a couple of things to say:

1. What is and what isn't a sport is a sterile debate. I have aesthetic issues with sports which rely on subjective judging for their scoring (although almost all sports are subjectively refereed, blah, blah, sterile). It seems crazy to me that ski-jumping, a sport with a sensible, easily applicable criterion of measurable worth - length - goes in for a subjective component.

2. I looked at other sites about the women-in-ski-jumping issue. Easily the best moment in any of these was a comment running thus:

I spent some time looking for numbers on elite male and female ski jumpers ... They are devilishly hard to find, but, to the best I can determine, right now the best women’s ski jumper, Lindsey Van, has a best jump that is over 100 meters shorter than the current world record holder–in fact, there are more than 10 men who’ve jumped over 100 meters further than she (apparently) ever has. That is a huge, huge difference.

A huge, huge difference indeed. So huge that I seriously question this guy's research skills. I mean, given that Lindsey Van has jumped over 105m at Whistler, scene of the 2010 Olympics, and that the Olympic winner, Simon Ammann, jumped 108m for gold, just why were none of the guys jumping twice that far taking part? Different hills, and the all-but-different-sport of ski-flying is the answer, as it was not devilishly hard to find out.

Lindsey Van apparently lost the Canadian public's sympathy for what seems a decent case to have been allowed to compete when she called the the International Olympic Committee "the Taliban of the Olympics". She shouldn't have said it, but given the endemic racism, sexism, homophobia, corruption and uselessness of the sportocracy, it's a bit funny. Actually, most sportocrats aren't racist any more, or at least know how to pretend.

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