Smaller Hill, Shorter Sled: How the Olympics Infantilize Women Athletes

from slate.com: Why are the Olympics half-assing their women’s sports? The abbreviation of women’s competition is a testament to the lingering belief that female bodies are physically incapable of going as long, hard, or high as male ones. When the modern Olympic games kicked off in the 19th-century, women were barred from competition completely, and pseudoscience stepped in to justify the choice. "There was this 19th-century idea that women have a limited capacity of what they called ‘vital energy,’" says Dr. Amy Bass, a professor of history at The College of New Rochelle who also headed up NBC’s research team during the London Games. Some international athletic leaders continue to perpetuate that view: In 2005, International Ski Federation president Gian-Franco Kasper said that ski jumping "seems not to be appropriate for ladies from a medical point of view." Just last week, Russian men’s coach Alexander Arefyev argued that jumping requires “too much hard labor” for a woman’s body.

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