Thursday, September 29, 2011


That was in the subject line of the email I received from JB (minus the exclamation point--I added that myself). There was a link to an article about how the IAAF is changing the rules on what races women can earn world records in.

This is the article I saw initially. Here is what went down: the IAAF decided that women could not set world records in mixed gender races because of issues over being paced by men. They can only set "world bests." (P.S. The rule is retroactive!) This seems to be an issue primarily in road races, especially marathons. And various marathon organizations have come out in opposition to the IAAF's rule, which is scheduled to go into effect in January. But even their collective stance is less than ideal. They suggest having two world records--one for mixed gender races and the other for single sex races. They do argue though that the IAAF's new rule does not, among other things, "respect the history of [the] sport."
Right? Road running is a sport that can be done in a mixed gender group. And the IAAF is now implying that the practice of mixed gender racing and pacing is somehow akin to cheating. But don't men pace off of others? So it's not the pacing; it's the pacing off someone who does not have the same genitalia that is the problem, it appears. Will this mentality spread to other sport governing bodies? Will Danica Patrick be barred from drafting off of her male competitors?
And what about the men who pace off of women in races? Will their wins in their respective categories (age or weight) be disregarded because they employed opposite gender pacing?
It began in idiocy and ends in ridiculousness!

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