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Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports

An official journal of the American Statistical Association

Editor-in-Chief: Steve Rigdon, PhD

CiteScore 2017: 0.67

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.290
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.853

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Volume 9, Issue 1


Volume 1 (2005)

Longitudinal analyses of Olympic athletics and swimming events find no gender gap in performance improvement

Stephanie Ann Kovalchik
  • Corresponding author
  • National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, 6120 Executive Blvd, EPS 8047, Rockville, MD 20852, USA
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Ray Stefani
Published Online: 2013-03-30 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jqas-2012-0007


Gender gaps in absolute performance at the Olympics are well-established, while gender differences in relative performance have not been considered. We analyzed time trends in male and female performance improvement for medal results in all individual athletics and swimming events in Olympic years with male and female competition. Performance improvement was defined as the percentage change in performance over the gold-medal result of the previous Olympic year. In mixed effects models that accounted for the effects of the order of finish, event, and year, we found a non-significant average difference in performance improvement of <0.5% for events in running, jumping, throwing, and swimming. Since the mid-twentieth century, the record at the Summer Games shows that gains in the performance of female Olympic medalists have kept pace with men.

Keywords: athletics; gender bias; mixed modeling; olympics; swimming


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About the article

Corresponding author: Stephanie Ann Kovalchik, National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, 6120 Executive Blvd, EPS 8047, Rockville, MD 20852, USA, Tel.: +626-319-9890

Published Online: 2013-03-30

Citation Information: Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, Volume 9, Issue 1, Pages 15–24, ISSN (Online) 1559-0410, ISSN (Print) 2194-6388, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jqas-2012-0007.

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