Jowell Champions Gender Equality In Olympic Sports

By Lindsey Last edited 111 months ago
Jowell Champions Gender Equality In Olympic Sports

green-content.png Sounds like a good thing, right? It's actually quite a shock to discover men can enter 40 more events than women under the current Olympic rules. In the 21st century, why shouldn't women have the opportunity to get gloved for boxing and men don the noseclip for synchronised swimming? Thing is, we're having enough problems funding our established elite teams as it is and there's the small point that changes to Olympic disciplines can only be made 7 years in advance when a host city is selected anyway. And even if we could, in theory, create a Games of total equal opportunity between the sexes, would we really want to put more pressure on the venues and logistics by adding an additional 40 events to the mindbogglingly complex preparation programme at this stage? We'd rather be distracted by this lovely map than this bizarre crusade.

Last Updated 16 February 2009


It's been a bee in TJ's bonnet for a while, this, I think.

The overall sports are indeed chosen 7 years before the Games (i.e. at the same meeting where a city wins the bid). But the sub-divisions within each sport are actually decided about 3 years out, so for London 2012 these will be agreed by the IOC in Copenhagen in October 2009.

so, to explain this - 7 years out, you get 'aquatics' agreed, and 'squash' removed from the programme. 3 years out you can get 'open water swimming' agreed as part of aquatics (which had its first outing in Beijing).

so there's certainly a bit of a campaign going to get women into boxing, and a (smaller, Japan-centred) bid to get men into rhythmic gymnastics. but on the basis that there has to be a limit to the number of medals and competitions over the Games, parity in disciplines must presumably lead to a reduction in disciplines?

good to have a debate now, anyway. decisions, I think, in October.


Bring back the Standing High Jump!

You make a good point actually - you could achieve parity by scrapping events that only men compete in. Is surely time female boxing went Olympic. And I'd pay money to see men doing rhythmic gymnastics.