– Ask your country’s Olympic champion, and you might get the answer, “Tall and strong.” Others would add, “Beautiful and graceful.” But one thing is clear: “The winner” in the men’s pole vault competition will be someone who looks like you.
According to a study conducted by the UK’s Sport England’s Institute of Applied Sport Sciences and published in the journal Sport, the best pole dancers are typically short, skinny and brown. They also come from small, poor, English towns. The authors conclude: “The poor, white, English are the best to win the pole-vaulting championship. This suggests that the winner will typically come from a disadvantaged background — that it would be best if the sport was open to all.”
To a certain extent, this is also true of the US women’s wrestling team, whose athletes often don’t look very different from the nation’s “best” male wrestlers from around the country.
While there is no reason to think that the Olympics results are fixed, the results indicate that many elite athletic events are skewed in favor of the athletes who have the means and the access to training. There’s also evidence that women’s weightlifting, where women have to lift more weight than men, is less favorable to men, who have a greater tendency to overuse barbells and dumbbells.
If the gender gap in participation and awards is any indication, that trend can continue in this sporting competition.
[Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research via The Telegraph]
Image by Michael Huyke/Flickr
We’ve been looking at this from every possible angle; we’re going to give it to you straight. The most important fact to understand is this: when the US started to develop its own air force, in the early 1850s, it was a new army in name only, but with the skills to be a fearsome professional fighting force.
“No other country had airships, no other country had fighters, no other country had naval airships.”
— Air Force Chief of Staff General Nathan Twining
In the 19th century, airship-based warfare was considered so dangerous that the Air Force banned their use. The new American warship, the U.S.S. Lexington, featured a specially constructed balloon on its hull, the crew-served guns on its forward side, and was able to hover over the battlefield. By 1869, the U.
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