Tuesday, February 18, 2014

16 involved women

I have been watching some of the Olympics and had noticed a number of accidents but had not noticed the gender imbalance. From Extreme Park Crashes Taking Outsize Toll on Women by John Branchfeb.
Most of the accidents have occurred at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, site of the snowboarding and freestyle skiing events like halfpipe, slopestyle and moguls.

And most of the injuries have been sustained by women.

Through Monday night, a review of the events at the Extreme Park counted at least 22 accidents that either forced athletes out of the competition or, if on their final run, required medical attention. Of those, 16 involved women. The injury rate is higher when considering that the men’s fields are generally larger.
73% of the injuries are sustained by women when they are less than half of the participants. But why?

The article offers a couple of suggestions. Sounds like we are talking primarily about a handful of the events; slopestyle, ski cross, moguls, halfpipes, and snowboard cross. The offered reasons are: 1) men and women are using the same courses and men are more accustomed to extreme courses than women, and 2) women choose not to practice on the course because of its risks. What this implies is that more practice will solve the injury problem but that doesn't make a lot of sense. They are avoiding practicing because of the accidents.

Is it possibly a consequence of differentials in physical strength that leads to the higher accident rate? I would not instinctively have thought of this as a sport where the gender differences in body strength would have made that much of a difference but perhaps at the margin it does.

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