Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
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©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2010) 09, 214 - 223

Research article
Women and Men in Sport Performance: The Gender Gap has not Evolved since 1983
Valérie Thibault1, , Marion Guillaume2, Geoffroy Berthelot1, Nour El Helou1, Karine Schaal1, Laurent Quinquis1, Hala Nassif1, Muriel Tafflet1,3, Sylvie Escolano1,3, Olivier Hermine2,4, Jean-François. Toussaint1,2,5
Author Information
1 IRMES, INSEP, Paris, France
2 Université Paris-Descartes, Paris, France
3 INSERM U970, Centre de Recherche Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
4 Service Hématologie, Hôpital Necker and CNRS UMR, Paris, France
5 CIMS, Hôtel-Dieu, Assistance Publique - Hôpitaux de Paris, Paris, France

Valérie Thibault
✉ IRMES, Institut de Recherche bioMédicale et d'Epidémiologie du Sport INSEP, 11 Avenue du Tremblay, 75012 - Paris - FRANCE
Email: Valerie.thibault@insep.fr
Publish Date
Received: 07-12-2009
Accepted: 02-03-2010
Published (online): 01-06-2010
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ABSTRACT

Sex is a major factor influencing best performances and world records. Here the evolution of the difference between men and women’s best performances is characterized through the analysis of 82 quantifiable events since the beginning of the Olympic era. For each event in swimming, athletics, track cycling, weightlifting and speed skating the gender gap is fitted to compare male and female records. It is also studied through the best performance of the top 10 performers in each gender for swimming and athletics. A stabilization of the gender gap in world records is observed after 1983, at a mean difference of 10.0% ± 2.94 between men and women for all events. The gender gap ranges from 5.5% (800-m freestyle, swimming) to 18.8% (long jump). The mean gap is 10.7% for running performances, 17.5% for jumps, 8.9% for swimming races, 7.0% for speed skating and 8.7% in cycling. The top ten performers’ analysis reveals a similar gender gap trend with a stabilization in 1982 at 11.7%, despite the large growth in participation of women from eastern and western countries, that coincided with later- published evidence of state-institutionalized or individual doping. These results suggest that women will not run, jump, swim or ride as fast as men.

Key words: World records, best performances, gender difference, elite sport


           Key Points
  • Sex is a major factor influencing best performances and world records.
  • A stabilization of the gender gap in world records is observed after 1983, at a mean difference of 10.0% ± 2.94 between men and women for all events.
  • The gender gap ranges from 5.5% (800-m freestyle, swimming) to 36.8% (weight lifting).
  • The top ten performers’ analysis reveals a similar gender gap trend with a stabilization in 1982 at 11.7%.
  • Results suggest that women will not run, jump, swim or ride as fast as men.
 
 
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