Category Archives: Gender

How Elite Runners Train When They’re Pregnant

When Elle Purrier St. Pierre, the 27-year-old Olympic miler and multiple American record-holder, announced her pregnancy a few weeks ago, fans were surprised. I was too, even though I recently wrote about a study suggesting that pregnancy doesn’t alter the career trajectory of elite runners. Old habits die hard, and the knee-jerk assumption that motherhood […]

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Sex Differences in Running Are More Complicated Than We Thought

A pretty good rule of thumb is that women, on average, tend to be about 10 to 12 percent slower than men across a wide range of running distances. That used to be an uncontroversial observation. But these days, with debates swirling about the participation of transgender athletes and those with differences of sexual development […]

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Quadball and Ultimate Might Be the Most Trans-Inclusive Sports

In June, several athletic governing bodies—including Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), which oversees international cycling competitions, and the International Swimming Federation—tightened restrictions on transgender athletes, saying such policies will create a more fair and level playing field. Other sports have since followed suit.  Meanwhile, two quirky but fiercely competitive sports—quadball and Ultimate—are taking a different approach: […]

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An Unconventional Training Idea for Older Women

A new paper in the Journal of Sports Sciences, in setting up what turns out to be a highly unusual and interesting experiment, casually drops this little fact-bomb in its opening sentence: “The cardiac phenotype of a substantial fraction of the population, i.e., mature women, is mainly unresponsive to endurance training.” Wow. The hearts of […]

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How Pregnancy Affects Your Marathon Time

A few years ago, Nike-sponsored runners Alysia Montaño and Kara Goucher publicly revealed the extent to which their pay had been slashed when they got pregnant. Allyson Felix followed up with the story of how Nike had offered her a contract with a 70 percent reduction in pay after she got pregnant. “Getting pregnant,” former […]

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The Transgender Athlete Debate and the Limits of Inclusion in Sports

A few years ago, the journalist Michael Lewis started a podcast called “Against the Rules.” The first episode had the promising title “Ref, you suck!” and began with the simple observation that animosity towards NBA referees seemed to be at an all time high. This, Lewis eventually argues, is consistent with a larger trend of […]

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