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Discussion: Gender Parity

in: Orienteering; General

Nov 12, 2015 3:06 PM # 
IAAF XC will have gender parity for senior events starting in 2016-17. At the moment men run 12km and women run 8km. Going forward both women and men will run 10km.

With changes in WOC coming has there been any high level IOF discussions to also have gender parity in winning times for all race distances (currently a large discrepancy in long).
Nov 12, 2015 4:04 PM # 
I know that the topic was brought to the attention of the Athlete's Commission. I sent them an email at the end of May asking for them to push this agenda. I heard back that they would discuss it further when the commission convened, but I don't know if it has gone any farther than that.
Nov 12, 2015 4:27 PM # 
Hasn't come before Foot O Commission as yet, but if the Athletes' Commission supported such a proposal I think it would be taken seriously.
Nov 13, 2015 3:45 AM # 
Why the bloody hell would you want to run the same course as Thierry if you didn't have to? That's just going to be depressing.
Nov 13, 2015 5:06 AM # 
It's not putting women on the same course as the men are running; it's designing the women's course to have a 90 minute winning time too.
Nov 13, 2015 6:12 AM # 
Long distance should be Long distance - same winning time. Not some archaic 1950s hangover 'maybe the delicate little girls can't run that far' half assed distance. If you want to race it - do the training. If you think its too far and its a bad idea - f-off and run the B course.
Nov 13, 2015 6:46 AM # 
Aus MTBO champs last weekend they made the male and female elite winning times the same for all three distances, even though IOF has women with shorter times. They didn't do the same for the masters (40+) categories though, which still had women with shorter times than the men.

Mind you, there is still debate in Australia as to whether the masters even want to ride for the same time as the elites, despite what IOF says.
Nov 13, 2015 8:03 AM # 
Men's races are usually more tight. It means women's race does not need to be as long as men's race to spread runners. Today's winning times already usually spread out women more then men. For example at WOC long Glen Affric Women were already more spread, both in minutes and in %

10th was 4.8% behind (5 min).
20th was 10.9% (11 min)

10th was 8,2% (6 min)
20th was 16.1% (12 min)

So now women's 20th (Kempster) had time 87:45. With 100 min winning time and 16.1% behind her time would have been 116 minutes. And 45th AliC's time was 107:31, with 100 min winning time her result would have been 153 minutes, that's 2 h 32 min, based on being now 41% behind the winner.

I am not saying times should not be the same, all I am saying there is some logic behind current times (=spread, and avoiding excessive times for the second half of the result list) and it is not just a relic from medieval times.
Nov 13, 2015 10:07 AM # 
I´m with Bomb on this one. If you want long distance you have to train for it. If it´s too long for you - just don´t run.
Difference in spread today may be because there´s really no need for excessive distance training for the women - if the courses had been longer maybe they had to face those facts and do more.
Nov 13, 2015 10:43 AM # 
The spread difference is already there when I look at middle results. Note, it does not mean the field is stronger or more even among men. The thing is, tougher terrain is, more spread you get, also in men's races. Women are slightly weaker on average, so any terrain is slightly tougher for women, so on average any terrain spreads women more. Thus less distance/winning time is needed to get the same spread.

And I am not saying wining time should not be same, I am just trying to illustrate reasons behind today's winning times/distances. I find it wrong to say wining times should be same for gender parity reasons. I would say we should first agree what are the right metrics (wining time is just one of them) and try to find gender parity for those. If 40th runner in men's race will run 2h and women's race 2.5 h then where is the gender parity?
Nov 13, 2015 11:08 AM # 
A fair point, Jagge, something to think about for sure.

There are a lot of invested parties in these races, and their values may differ. Gloria Steinem, as a feminist of note, might offer up the advice of "ask the turtle." From my anecdotal experience, I would say that the super elite women would like to race courses with the same winning time as the men. I believe they feel as if having a shorter winning time is insultingly based on a feeling that women can not or should not run as long. This is regardless of whether the shorter winning time is there because of this reason.

On the other side, I am not sure that the audience members care one way or the other... for them the quality of the race is much more about the announcing building the drama, using the audio, video, radio controls out in the forest, and not so much about how long the course it.
Nov 13, 2015 11:58 AM # 
Jagge, WOC is about the best in the world, who cares how long it takes the second half of the results list? That's their problem for not being good enough. The best women in the world can race for 90-100 minutes, no problem.
Nov 13, 2015 12:43 PM # 
Of course, why do you has to say so? I think you did not read what I wrote.

But if you ask me, I believe instead of winning time we should try something like setting average time of top 20. And same for both genders, something 100..105 minutes might do. Setting same winning time makes women's race effectively much longer. That's not a problem, but men might want to have longer (equally long) course too.
Nov 13, 2015 7:12 PM # 
Jagge, I get what you're saying, that it's not just archaic reasons for the difference. But let's move beyond that, and allow for the same winning times among men and women. Let's make the long distance a proper long race for the women.
Nov 13, 2015 7:42 PM # 
acjospe, are you saying 1:45 as average of top 20 for both genders would not for be long enough women to qualify as a proper long race? That is about 97 minutes winning time with the spread we had at WOC 2015.
Nov 13, 2015 8:01 PM # 
I find winning time problematic. Every now and then someone like Sime or RGIF dominates the field and planner needs to think how fast that very person is able to run the course. Then if that person gets injured or something and with bad luck comes also rainy slippery day - winning time are off a lot. I'd say it would be much better to try estimate average of top 10 or 20 and make that average long enough. Do courses need to be longer some years just because some single person happens to be really really good and fit that year? Why not keep the race constant from year to year and simply let him/her win with couple of minutes faster winning time that year.
Nov 13, 2015 10:49 PM # 
First of all, winning time, as far as I can tell, is intended as a method of getting the course to be roughly the right distance and not as a goal for the athletes or a challenge for the course setter to guess the winning time based on who's registered. For major races the courses are set long before we know who's registered and who might be injured and not show up.

There often seems to be too much pressure to get that winning time bang on when I don't think that was ever the intent of the rule. That said I definitely think we need to try to stick close to the winning times - I can think of several major events recently where the winning time was way high (they never seem to be on the low side) and so the times quickly got into the range of a longer discipline.

Ultimately the courses are defined by the length they are on the map and the winning time is simply a way of helping the organizers figure out what that length on the map should be. If you think that it would be more useful to determine the length of course using an average of times or saying that someone with so many WR point should run in a certain time that's fair enough. These are, ultimately, all different ways of describing / defining the same thing through different parameters of the same equation.

No matter which variables you use to talk about course length the fact is that women's courses should be longer. There is no reason the women can't run equally tough courses (I'm not about to wade into the discussion about what 'equally tough' means.) and to say otherwise is to live far in past. As our new prime minister so eloquently put it: "Because it's 2015."
Nov 14, 2015 5:10 AM # 
Every time this comes up, I'm obligated to mention what the real archaic reason is. It's not because somebody thinks women can't handle the longer race. And it's not "winning time" that's the issue, it's actually 3rd place time (which would actually be as good a metric as anything and lessen the "ringer" effect). What as really been going on historically is that, given the same start window, somebody has been trying to ensure that the women's results are settled and not causing any distractions before the contenders in the more important men's event start finishing. (Which I consider far more insulting, and having been on the inside at one point, I can pretty much guarantee that it's the real origin of this travesty.)
Nov 14, 2015 12:27 PM # 
having been on the inside at one point, I can pretty much guarantee that it's the real origin of this travesty.
You were, I think, "on the inside" 27 years after WOC began. I've no doubt that the "origin of the travesty", back in 1966, lies in the attitude to women's endurance running back then, when the olympics wouldn't let women run even 5km and even SaraMae hadn't run the Boston marathon.

You were, I think "on the inside" 22 years ago, but you'll be unsurprised to hear that

ensure that the women's results are settled and not causing any distractions before the contenders in the more important men's event start finishing.

is still very much evident in some people's thinking. Things have moved on though, the women aren't just a distraction, they're also there to be decorative in the mass start and glory leg of the sprint relay. Feel free to discuss which is more insulting...
Nov 14, 2015 3:54 PM # 
I believe we're in agreement here. Except that, in the sprint relay, they're more than decorative: you can't win on just the strength of the men, you also have to have good women.
Nov 14, 2015 6:39 PM # 
The IOF did say the reason for women running those legs was something along the lines of "it'll be more exciting"...
Nov 14, 2015 7:03 PM # 
I'm curious Graeme, what order should the sprint relay run so there is gender parity?
Nov 14, 2015 7:30 PM # 
Free order?
Nov 14, 2015 8:56 PM # 
I believe we're in agreement here. Yes, I think we are. I also think I'm in agreement with Nixon, which always worries me :)

@carlch. In this year's mixed sprint relay, the gap between 1st and 10th was...
women .. 146 sec
men ... 98 sec
Pretty similar last year. So if you wanted men and women to have equal importance, the men's course is about 50% too short...
Nov 15, 2015 10:08 AM # 
Is the women's marathon shorter than the men's? Or does it have the same expected winning time? Tongue in cheek observation that gender parity depends on the metric and the two being debated here are a little unusual.
Nov 15, 2015 3:55 PM # 
Larry :
So to conclude:
A bunch of men who are no longer running elite are trying to decide what the women running WOC should do. Two women who have run the WOC Long both made good points. No one seems to have quoted exactly what the athletes commission stated. Some of the athletes commission do post on AP but don't seem to be interested in the mens club discussion. Until someone actually tries changing the winning time or goes and asks a fair sample of the elite women, you can keep talking about it all you like. Have fun!
Nov 15, 2015 4:01 PM # 
Having women race the same distance is a battle that isn't even on the table at this point. IOF lists a shorter time, and we can't even get to parity on that.

In 1993, we fought to have the length of the races, measured by time, be the same. The controllers wouldn't let us. And when pressed, they finally came out with the reason that I mentioned above.
Nov 15, 2015 9:16 PM # 
As far as I know, the athletes' commission haven't stated anything on the subject (yet). My own position is that I'll support equal winning times if it's clear that that's what the athletes want.
Nov 15, 2015 11:20 PM # 
AFAIK the Billygoat, Highlander, Traverse, and other similar races (like the DGL Raids) all have the same distance for men and women. They also usually have a shorter race option -- again, for both genders.
Nov 16, 2015 2:53 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
I think it is pretty obvious that Jagge is mostly spot on (as usual...):

a) Women should be allowed to run for at least the same time as men.
b) Physically stronger runners (i.e. men) gain more time when the terrain/courses are tougher, i.e. Olav Lundanes tends to run straight over steep hills and still do well, while for women (including Simone in her best days) it is faster to run around on the same leg. Check the 2010 WOC in Trondheim for examples.
c) "Winning time" would be more neutral if it was taken as average of the N best instead of a single extraordinary runner who blows away the rest.
d) Going for average time spread among the top 10/20 runners would likely lead to the conclusion that female courses are already too long compared to men, but that hasn't stopped the endurance/ultrarunners from using the exact same course for everyone.

I am old enought to remember when they wouldn't allow anything longer than 800 (or 1500?) m for females in IAAF championships. Grethe Waitz, arguably the best female marathon runner of all time had to compete for many years before she was allowed to run her first 3000m, and when she started as a "tourist" in New York Marathon nobody in the US had heard about her. :-)
Nov 16, 2015 4:01 AM # 
Terje, you hit a good side topic for me. Your point is well taken, but there were at least two Americans who knew about Grete before her first NY Marathon, Fred Lebow and me.
In 1978 I attended summer school at U of Oslo (Blindern) and went to two Bislett events, and saw Grete put USA's best, Jan Merrill, into a different race.
A couple months later, I went to spectate the NYC Marathon, and to my complete surprise, I spotted this familiar "tourist" warming up on the Verrazano Bridge (start). I told my running friends. "that's the woman who will win the race," and she made me look good.

Oh yes, and I'm glad to see this proposal getting narrowed down, directed to the women, and the relevant IOF entities, with Blair T's support.
Nov 20, 2015 1:08 PM # 
This same topic has just come up in cross country in Scotland. I found the process deeply flawed and the outcome very unsatisfactory.

The situation was similar. The mens 12km race has been established for years and essentially all the men are happy with it. The women ran 8km, and most women were happy with that, but some wanted to run longer.

What should have happened, IMO, was a discussion led by the female athletes as to whether the women's course should be longer, perhaps as long as the men's. But it soon became clear that there was no majority for this. What then happened was a shift from petitioning for what the minority actually wanted (long women's course), to something less concrete that was difficult for anyone to argue against (gender parity).

Once that cheap argument was won, we had imposed upon us a shortened men's course, something that essentially nobody wanted.

If our elite O-women have a genuine desire for longer courses, that's their right to decide and the IOF should respect it. What the elite women don't have, is the right to decide is how long the men's course should be. By allowing the debate to shift to "gender parity" we're risking that a small number of elite women destroy the Men's Long.

I don't believe anyone actually wants to shorten the men's race. But if we're not careful that will be the unintended consequence of debating gender parity, just as it was in cross country.
Nov 20, 2015 5:39 PM # 
Title IX?
Nov 21, 2015 2:04 AM # 
There is a simple explanation why the courses for women are shorter.
While men would go relax and watch football, after the race is over, a women is supposed to go to the kitchen to cook a dinner for her husband, losing lots of energy in the process--that is why, again, the courses are shortened for them. This is just to implement the gender parity in the total energy spent on various lifetime activities.
Nov 21, 2015 2:46 AM # 
Good job Yurets. That's the way to make friends in the community. How many different groups can you be an ass to?
Nov 21, 2015 3:00 AM # 
He just needs a sarcasm font.
Nov 21, 2015 4:38 AM # 
Is there such a thing as sarcasm in the US?

I found Yurets' post to be both entertaining and factual. 9/10
Nov 21, 2015 10:02 AM # 
As an antipodean, I immediately noticed the irony font.
Nov 21, 2015 12:31 PM # 
I like Larry's observation about this mens discussion ;) I also agree with Graeme- if the women want a change then it should be discussed best through the athletes comission (maybe it already has been) and what we want doesn't necessarily have to be the same as what the men want.
My 2cents: I find the 70 min winning time (or often less) that we often have is really too short and I'd prefer 80-90 winning time. I don't really care how long the men run..
Nov 23, 2015 1:26 PM # 
I think 007 made some really good points.

In regards to the sexism of having different winning times, I would say that the fact that the winning time is shorter is not in itself sexist but more because it's unlikely that the female athletes were part of the decision making process that led to the 75 min winning time guideline.
Nov 23, 2015 3:00 PM # 
I'll probably be accused of sexism but, I believe that when asked what the long winning time should be, both men and women will answer with the time that best suits them as individuals. In other words, the better you as an individual are at endurance, the longer you'll want the winning time.
Nov 23, 2015 3:51 PM # 
Back on the WOC sprint relay...

How many countries had good enough men to win (if they had the best women's pairing Alm/Klingenberg)?
ANS: Norway Russia Switzerland Sweden Finland France Lithuania Austria Poland Italy Latvia and Denmark

Genderparitically, how many countries had good enough women to win if they'd had the best men?
ANS: Denmark.

So basically, the performance of the men was close to irrelevant: is it sexist to not have a problem with this?
Mar 23, 2016 11:11 AM # 
Swedish Orienteering Federation has voted to have same winning times for men and women.
Mar 23, 2016 11:20 AM # 
About time - Now for IOF...
Mar 23, 2016 11:27 AM # 
Are there any similar moves under consideration in other federations?
Mar 24, 2016 2:26 AM # 

It's not surprising that an SOFT would give itself a warm glow of promoting equality. What's pathetic is that they take the credit for the populist decision, but pass to the organisers the problem of trashing the mens classic. What they should be deciding on is the winning times for 21E races, since sprint and middle are already equal.

What happens next is that M21E gets shortened. A thing that nobody is lobbying for. And the organisers shoulder the blame for that unpopular and unwanted decision.

Maybe I'm wrong, maybe Billstam and Alexandersson will get the 100min WOC they've been talking about and the guys get to keep their classic. But I bet myself a coconut they wont.
Mar 24, 2016 2:49 AM # 
If there's demand for the current length men's Long course, then why would organizers shorten? If already setting 90 minute H21 Long (according to the article on the SOFT site), then it shouldn't be hard to set D21 just a bit shorter.

It's interesting to note that if America did something similar, then it could have an effect on the progression of course lengths. Currently each advanced course seems to be about 50% longer than the next shorter advanced course, in a nice approximate geometric progression. With an F21 winning time as long as the M21 winning time, the F21 course would be much closer to the Blue course length, and much further from the Green course length. Would there continue to be a course matching the current Red, or would it lengthen, creating a larger Green-Red gap? Or would Green get longer too?
Mar 24, 2016 3:36 AM # 
US Champs 2016: M21 winner 82.48; W21 83.44.
You guys are there already ;)
Mar 24, 2016 3:44 AM # 
Good point :-)
Mar 24, 2016 7:58 AM # 
I'm not sure which article you've read, graeme, that pushes the idea of shortening the men's course as a way to equalize. I understand that you've seen this happen in Scotland in another context, but above you write:

What should have happened, IMO, was a discussion led by the female athletes as to whether the women's course should be longer, perhaps as long as the men's. But it soon became clear that there was no majority for this

Which is what it feels like they have done, except that the decision was that there is indeed a majority. I would not be surprised if gender equality was a much bigger issue in the Swedish population as a whole, which would be a reason that the outcome would be different here than it was in Scottish cross country circles.

Why would the organizers willingly shorten the M21E? I can't quite decide if you are trolling with the leading word "pathetic" in your post, or if you are just more pessimistic than I am.

To share your language, I would say it would be rather pathetic to hear the populist cry for gender parity (populism doesn't need to be a negative term) and maintain the status quo out of fear for what might happen, instead of showing leadership enough to change the rule and then commit to having the adjustment to equal winning times go smoothly.

SOFT news item (in Swedish)
Mar 24, 2016 10:13 AM # 
In 2015 SM long (Haninge SOK) two last male finisher run over two hours, just barely. With equal winning time 100 min over half of the finishers in women's A final would have run over two hours. Last finisher about 2,5 hours. Based on times behind winner. And it was A final with only the very best competitors qualified to. To me it looks like women will have now quite a bit longer race than men. I don't say there is nothing wrong with this, just saying that how it is looks now.

I can see some organizers may be tempted to aim for slightly shorter winning time than 100 minutes.
Mar 24, 2016 1:26 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
Equal winning times have come up i Norway as well, and a very strong runner (particularly in long distances!) Anne Margrethe Hausken Nordberg wrote a post explaining why she was against it:

(Try Google translate if you cannot understand Norwegian)

Her main consideration was simply that by having a slightly shorter winning time, it is possible for the strongest females to run all distances in a championship, something almost no male runners are attempting these days, right?

This seems like an argument for making the men's winning time shorter, not the women's course longer.

OTOH the new WOC setup with alternating forest/sprint years will make it easy to do all the sprint races and much more feasible to handle just the forest races as well.
Mar 24, 2016 1:37 PM # 
It would have been be easy for SOFT to propose that womens courses should be made the same as mens. Or to propose that mens courses be made shorter. Or both. That is the important decision that actually affects orienteering, and that's what they should be debating. I say "pathetic" because they ducked the actual issue.

As Jagge says given that the % behind winner of most runner is, and always has been, higher for women, this is actually a recipe for most women to be out longer than than most men. Gender parity, but only for the superelite.

The organizers will "willingly" shorten men's courses if their only allowed alternative is to make the women's course much longer than competitors want. Gender parity means the women have as much say in course lengths as men. That's why it happened in cross country, and that's why it will happen in orienteering.

By "populist" I mean presenting an argument which people will probably oppose
(shorter courses for men and longer courses for women) in evasive terms which nobody could oppose without getting called a troll: "gender parity".

To me, gender parity should mean that the female long course lengths are decided by female athletes, and the men's likewise. To IAAF, it means the same course lengths. A title IX-type argument might demand adjusting course lengths until the same number of women as men run the open class.

"Gender parity" is an easy sell, but equal winning times isn't necessarily gender parity. Using "gender parity" to leverage something else is disingenuous.
Mar 24, 2016 1:58 PM # 
Fair enough. It does appear to be a contentious subject, and clearly using a broad term like gender parity leads to a loss of specificity about what the actual outcome will be. I choose to remain optimistic that the spirit of equality will result in an elite class with equal winning times, and that the women lower in the results are not pushed out of the sport by this action. Perhaps we will see the rise in importance for the DAK class if the elite long is only attractive to the super-elite.

One of the comments attached to the Hausken-Norberg interview came from Eva Jurenikova, where she points out that the correct action depends on what the end goal is. Is the goal to have the largest number of participants? To have a competition where the abilities of the participants are tested, and the winner is the one that is best prepared for that distance?
Mar 24, 2016 3:27 PM # 
I would have thought that a solution to Nordberg's concern about starting a Norwegian championships week with an even longer Long could be to have the Long later in the week. Starting with a Long can mean dead legs for the whole week, as one woman she quotes observes. This topic used to get a lot of discussion for the American Sprint/Middle/Long championship weekend, I recall...which order for the races.
Jun 16, 2016 4:40 PM # 
Swedish long WOC test last week. As Tove points out in this tweet

90 minute winning time for men and women. 27 starters in each race. 26 women finished and only 18 men.
Aug 26, 2016 11:43 AM # 
SOFT have now proposed that the WOC women's winning time be raised to 90-100 mins.

But IOF now proposes:
Council does not support the second part of the Swedish Federation proposal, which specifies the winning times to be applied for the various competitions. The General Assembly should decide upon the principles of our sport and not the detailed rules for each discipline. Council instead proposes that winning times shall be set in the rules based upon the recommendations of the discipline commissions of the IOF.

i.e. the men's Long can be shortened in the name of "Gender Parity", and those women who prefer the present winning time (or even the actual winning time from this year ;) must campaign to shorten the men's course.
Aug 26, 2016 12:43 PM # 
That response seems reasonable. I guess it depends on whether you trust that the discipline commission will make a good decision. Perhaps those in favor of the status quo will also need to campaign to maintain things the way they are.

I campaigned my athlete representatives to push for equal winning times though, so I am coming from a slightly different starting stance. I do recognize that you believe the current system is equal between men and women classes in ways that matter, if not in the estimated winning times, so to you this political correctness run amok potentially leading to an unwanted outcome. I hope that the discipline committee sees your arguments the same way, and to me the ideal landing place is that the discipline committee takes the SOFT proposed winning time 90-100 minutes and pushes that forward.
Aug 26, 2016 12:57 PM # 
I hope they for for 90-100 minutes too, make it a real tough race, which women are capable of.

My concern is that JWOC hasn't been mentioned at all. If WOC gets longer, JWOC needs to get longer too. We can't have W20 at 55mins EWT and W21 at 100mins!
Aug 26, 2016 12:59 PM # 
To my considerable surprise, the proposal was convincingly voted down at the General Assembly (21-10).
Aug 26, 2016 1:01 PM # 
Blair beat me to it. Surprised at how overwhelmingly negative the vote was.
Aug 26, 2016 1:05 PM # 
Blair are you still in the meeting right now?
Aug 26, 2016 1:08 PM # 
Who votes, each country gets 1, or?
Aug 26, 2016 1:15 PM # 
tRicky - yes. Nixon - yes, 1 vote per country.
Aug 26, 2016 3:27 PM # 
Sanity prevails.
Now, hopefully, the discipline commission can have a sensible and unconstrained discussion about how long the women's course should be. Due to my limited experience of being a woman, I have no strong opinion about that.
Aug 27, 2016 12:04 AM # 
How limited? You didn't run the 800m in Rio did you?
Aug 28, 2016 3:45 PM # 
Orienteering Canada's response....

Aug 28, 2016 5:45 PM # 
You'll be campaigning to equalise winning times rather than distances across every other sport now, "because its 2016" - right?
Aug 28, 2016 5:50 PM # 
Well we could equalise the distances like most other running events... ;)
Aug 28, 2016 8:34 PM # 
Why not equalize the distance like in other sports? Have men and women run the same course, though with separate categories.
Aug 28, 2016 8:46 PM # 
@JimBaker Wow about equal hammer weight, shot put shot weight and hurdles height too? Men first figuring out what weight of javelin is optimal for men and then using that weight also for women's javelin, would that be optimal gender parity? How about women figuring out whats best javelin weight for women? I have feeling O community has long way to go what it comes to gender parity - athletics seems to be is years ahead - if best efforts so far is getting women's winning time match with the time seen optimal for men.
Aug 29, 2016 12:38 AM # 
It's not all equal across different sports. Looking at the recent Olympics, women run the 100m hurdles whereas men run the 110m. Why the 10m difference :-) Heptathlon & decathlon anybody? No 50km walk for the women.

In swimming the men do 1500m for their longest event in the pool whereas women do 800m.

MTB is based on times, not distance. Women did six laps and men seven in the cross country. MTBO (not yet an Olympic sport) is the same, with parity based on time rather than distance.
Aug 29, 2016 1:18 AM # 
I'm not sure that orienteering distances are "optimised" in the same way as javelin weights. I think it's more like women and men doing the same marathon course. No one says that women should do 40km instead, on a different course. Just throwing it out there...wouldn't it be interesting to compare the route choices of the top orienteers of both sexes? Of course there was some of that with this WOC's Long course. Not sure why it's a startling concept.
Aug 29, 2016 1:54 AM # 
In orienteering, races are defined by winning time, so that should be the target for gender parity. In swimming and track & field, races are defined by distance, so it makes sense for that to be the parity target.

Fwiw, in swimming, men and women compete in all the same distances everywhere EXCEPT the Olympics.
Aug 29, 2016 2:11 AM # 
Having women and men on the same course in orienteering (particularly WC events) would also blow out the start window by a considerable margin. Not good for television, which is what it's all about isn't it?
Aug 29, 2016 8:18 AM # 
Javelin weights are not optimised except to remain within the arena. Lighter or more aerodynamic javelins would go further. When the record crept up to 104m, they changed the spec, and nobody gets within 10m of that nowadays

110/100m hurdles is sort-of optimised so that athletes take three strides and jump - I suspect most top men would struggle with 100m hurdles and women with 110m. The hurdle height difference is 42 vs 33 inches, being typically bigger than a man's leg length and shorter than a woman's. Once, the 110 was called "High hurdles" which emphasized the difference - its probably unacceptable to mention that now but its survival is a nice example of what, waaaay upthread, Ross referred to as "ask the turtle".
Aug 29, 2016 8:19 AM # 
WOC 1966 - Women (winner 52:45); Men (1:36:05)
WOC 2003 - Women (1:26:14); Men (1:48:20)
WOC 2008 - Women (1:24:26); Men (1:46:08)
WOC 2011 - Women (1:22:26); Men (1:47:29)
WOC 2016 - Women (1:26:24); Men (1:33:27)

This year it was probably the smallest difference in a winning time for the Women and Men. When I spoke with the women cyclist trainer he told me that women can't have same speed as Men but their endurance capacity is similar or even larger than Men. I don't know if it is biological or just his observation but to his knowledge Women can handle pain better than Men. I haven't read any scientific research yet but maybe someone here can enlighten us. This question is more about what officials/trainers/organizers think is best for the sport, TV and development of orienteering around the world and probably also for the health of the athletes. Qualifying for the WOC Long should be based also on a fitness level of each athlete and long qualification race was exactly this. What could be the qualification norm for the athletes now when we have only FINAL and no evidence of their real fitness?
Aug 29, 2016 8:47 AM # 
From my study of two people, I have deduced that I can handle pain better than Tash can. Conclusive proof.
Aug 29, 2016 9:01 AM # 
Aug 29, 2016 9:05 AM # 
I have to put up with you whereas you only have to put up with me.
Aug 29, 2016 10:46 AM # 
Fair enough.
Aug 29, 2016 11:26 AM # 
Having two endurance events during WOC week would be draining. Better perhaps, if there were to be a qualifier again, to have a 3 to 4 km course consisting largely of a 3 km route choice leg. Doesn't test endurance, but does test ability to choose and execute routes well under pressure. (Endurance tests include results in Longs in World Cups, regional championships, and previous WOCs, which presumably teams use to decide who runs Long.)
Aug 29, 2016 5:09 PM # 
@JimBaker, Having been perhaps the least fit finalist for a European champs long final, I can say that running an additional 60 minute qualifier really isn't an issue at all

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