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Can Boys and Girls Compete in Sports?

Tuesday, 12 June 2012 12:47 PM

With the summer 2012 Olympics just weeks away, a team of Indiana University sports scientists has found little difference in young male and female athletes – even though boys and girls rarely compete against each other in U.S. sporting events.
Lead researcher Joel Stager -- a professor in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation at IU Bloomington – said he is not arguing that boys and girls compete against each other, but his findings indicate they could.
"It's the whole perception that girls can't compete fairly with boys," he said. "Well, at certain ages, they can."
Stager’s study analyzed data provided by USA Swimming of nearly 2 million 50-yard freestyle performances for all USA Swimming-registered male and female swimmers ages 6 to 19 who competed from 2005 to 2010.
The study found no difference in performance in children younger than 8, and little difference in 11- and 12-year-olds. But the effects of puberty began showing in the older swimmers, as the boys began experiencing accelerated growth in height, weight and strength.
Stager said researchers chose the 50-yard freestyle because the swimmers' performances are less influenced by training than by muscle function.

© HealthDay

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Scientists find suprisingly little difference between young male, female athletes in some sports.
Tuesday, 12 June 2012 12:47 PM
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