Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
In This Section

Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports

An official journal of the American Statistical Association

Editor-in-Chief: Glickman, PhD, Mark

4 Issues per year


CiteScore 2016: 0.44

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2015: 0.288
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2015: 0.358

Online
ISSN
1559-0410
See all formats and pricing
In This Section

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:
/ Ray Stefani
  • California State University, Long Beach, CA, USA
Published Online: 2013-03-30 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jqas-2012-0007

Abstract

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

References

  • Bates, D., M. Maechler, and B. Bolker. 2011. lme4: Linear mixed-effects models using S4 classes, available at: http://CRAN.R-project.org/package=lme4, R package Version 0.999375-42.

  • Boileau, R. A. and C. A. Horswill. 2000. “Exercise and Sport Science.” in Body composition in sports: Measurement and applications for weight loss and gain, 319–338. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

  • Callaway, E. 2012. “Why great olympic feats raise suspicions.” Nature, August 1 (http://www.nature.com/news/why-great-olympic-feats-raise-suspicions-1.11109).

  • Chatterjee, S. and M. Laudato. 1997. “Gender and Performance of World-Class Athletes.” Journal of Applied Statistics 24: 3–10. [Crossref]

  • Coast, J. R., J. S. Blevins, and B. A. Wilson. 2004. “Do gender Differences in Running Performance Disappear with Distance?” Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology 29: 139–45. [Crossref]

  • Ferez, S. 2012. “From Women’s Exclusion to Gender Institution: A Brief History of the Sexual Categorisation Process within Sport.” International Journal of the History of Sport 29: 272–85. [Crossref] [Web of Science]

  • Heazlewood, I. and G. Lackey. 1996. The Use of Mathematical Models to Predict Elite Athletic Performance at the Olympic Games. 3rd Conference on Mathematics and Computers in Sport, 30 September-2 October 1996. Bond University, Queensland, Conference Proceedings, pp. 185–206.

  • International Olympic Committee. 2012. Factsheet: Women in Olympic Movement. Lausanne, Switzerland: Olympic Studies Centre.

  • Iwaoka, K., H. Hatta, Y. Atomi, and M. Miyashita. 1988. “Lactate, Respiratory Compensation Thresholds, and Distance Running Performance in Runners of Both Sexes.” International Journal of Sports Medicine 9: 306–309. [PubMed] [Crossref]

  • Kovalchik, S. 2012. “Men’s Records and Women’s: Are The Women Better Already?: Moving Towards a Gender-Neutral Olympics.” Significance 9: 18–23.

  • Maud, P. and B. Shultz. 1986. “Gender Comparisons in Anaerobic Power and Anaerobic Capacity Tests.” British Journal of Sports Medicine 20: 51–54. [PubMed] [Crossref]

  • Murphy, M., J. Patton, and F. Frederick. 1986. “Comparative Anaerobic Power of Men and Women.” Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine 57: 636.

  • Norton, K. and T. Olds. 2001. “Morphological Evolution of Athletes Over the 20th Century: Causes and Consequences.” Sports Medicine 31: 763–83. [Crossref]

  • R Core Team. 2012. R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria, http://www.R-project.org/, ISBN 3-900051-07-0.

  • Radicchi, F. 2012. “Universality, Limits and Predictability of Gold-Medal Performances at the Olympic Games.” Plos One 7. [PubMed] [Web of Science]

  • Schumacher, Y. O., P. Mueller, and J. Keul. 2001. “Development of Peak Performance in Track Cycling.” Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 41: 139–46.

  • Sigelman, L. and P. Wahlbeck. 1999. “Gender Proportionality in Intercollegiate Athletics: The Mathematics of Title IX Compliance.” Social Science Quarterly 80: 518–538.

  • Stefani, R. 2006. “The Relative Power Output and Relative Lean Body Mass of World and Olympic Male and Female Champions with Implications for Gender Equity.” Journal of Sports Sciences 24: 1329–1339. [Crossref] [PubMed]

  • Storey, A. and H. Smith. 2012. “Unique Aspects of Competitive Weightlifting: Performance, Training and Physiology.” Sports Medicine 42: 769–790.

  • Sutherland, M. 1999. Gender Issues in International Education: Beyond Policy and Practice. Routledge, chapter Evaluating national policies on gender issues, 3–23.

  • Tatem, A., C. Guerra, P. Atkinson, and S. Hay. 2004. “Momentous Sprint at the 2156 Olympics?: Women Sprinters are Closing the Gap on Men and may One Day Overtake Them.” Nature 431: 525.

  • Thibault, V., M. Guillaume, G. Berthelot, N. El Helou, K. Schaal, L. Quinquis, H. Nassif, M. Tafflet, S. Escolano, O. Hermine, and J.-F. Toussaint. 2010. “Women and Men in Sport Performance: The Gender Gap has not Evolved Since 1983.” Journal of Sports Science and Medicine 9: 214–223.

  • Wainer, H., C. Njue, and S. Palmer. 2000. “Assessing Time Trends in Sex Differences in Swimming & Running.” Chance 13: 10–15.

  • Washburn, R. A. and D. R. Seals. 1984. “Peak Oxygen Uptake During Arm Cranking for Men and Women.” Journal of Applied Physiology 56: 954–957.

  • Weber, C. L., M. Chia, and O. Inbar. 2006. “Gender Differences in Anaerobic Power of the Arms and Legs–A Scaling Issue.” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 38: 129–137. [Crossref]

  • Wilson, W. 1996. “The IOC and the Status of Women in the Olympic movement: 1972 – 1996.” Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport 67: 183.

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, ISSN (Online) 1559-0410, ISSN (Print) 2194-6388, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jqas-2012-0007. Export Citation

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in