I love the Olympics. Every two years, I sit at my TV and watch hours of programming. I am one of those that watch and try to understand each sport. The more obscure the better. For the Winter Olympics, I especially like biathlon, cross-country skiing and speed skating - three sports that one never sees except at the Olympics. Figure skating and ice dancing and all the glitter I can do without.
The only sport left in the Winter Olympics that women are not allowed to do is ski jumping. Isn't that strange? In anything I've read, no good explanation is given for it. Some say that there is not enough competitors, but I have trouble believing that there are more women who want to do skeleton than want to do ski jumping. Another "official" said something about women harming their vital organs. A (female) doctor friend of mine made the point that women's reproductive organs are better packaged than men's. She also pointed out that that was the same excuse given for women not doing marathons 40 years ago. Since ski jumping is out for women, so is nordic combined.
On the day of the Opening Ceremonies, the luge competitor from Georgia died on the course. The news reported that to make the course safer, the men's start would be moved down to the women's start and the women's would be moved to the junior's start. Why are there two different start places for men and women? Is this something I don't understand about luge?
Women are new to bobsled and only do 2-man, they don't compete in 4-man. Do they have different courses as well?
Maybe bobsled and luge are power sports where men can get faster sprints than women, but what about the endurance sports? We women have been doing those for a long time now and many marathons and triathlons have more women entries than men.
I watched the women's 30K mass start in cross country. The commentators kept calling it the "marathon of cross country". Not quite. 30K is 18.6 miles, a bit shorter than a marathon. The men do 50K or 31 miles. That would be like telling the women in the summer olympics that instead of 26.2 miles for the marathon, they would do 19 miles. In fact, looking at the various events in cross-country and biathlon, women do shorter distances than men in most categories. Even the relays. Women's 15K pursuit vs men's 30k. Womens 4 x 5k relay vs men's 4 x 10K. Women's 10K individual vs men's 15K. The biathlon distances are similarily changed.
In speed skating, men race up to 10,000 meters and women only go to 5000 meters.
Women couldn't run further than the mile in the summer olympics until 1984, but we have been running the 5,000 and 10,000 meter races and the marathon since with no ill effects. The olympic triathlon distance is the same for men and women. After 26 years (longer than many of the winter olympians have been alive) shouldn't we see the same thing in the winter olympics?