In my previous post I mentioned male and female athletes will go head to head in the SFUA competition. Indeed, they will! In these days and age, it is time to finally have a competition that will test both sexes, equally and without any form of “handicap”… or advantages. By the way, I do not like the word “handicap”, based on its definition*: “a race or other contest in which certain disadvantages or advantages of weight, distance, time, etc., are placed upon competitors to equalize their chances of winning.” As we were designing or as I like to say “cooking the recipe” for the format and disciplines we were going to include in SFUA, the issue of fairness was always an element of concern… But, not from the perspective of male vs female. We were more focused on designing a competition that would not favor a certain “category” of athletes. The running type for instance (probably the most obvious), or the strength athletes, or the endurance type individuals, could easily benefit from an event poorly devised.
Most important, we had to develop a format that would test all participants on so many levels: Speed / Endurance / Strength / VO2 Max / Agility (Mental & Physical) / Accuracy / Technical Skills (in a multitude of sports) / Teamwork / Fear Management / Strategy / Creativity. We had to create a uniquely difficult and objectively fair comparison across all types of athletes: fast-twitch vs slow-twitch, endurance vs speed and strength, team oriented vs solo athletes and more. Ultimately, in a competition including the right selection of disciplines and as important, incorporating a well designed elimination process, should result into a competition where the gender factor would not be a factor. One thing we are certain of: Female athletes want to go head to head with their male counterparts! We keep seeing it all the time. Lindsey Vaughn wanted to ski race against the boys, Dania Patrick, Manon Rheaume in hockey and lately the 9 year old football sensation, Samantha Gordon, the young girl football player:
There is no doubt, the SFUA competition format will fuel a conversation and launch a debate among athletes and sports fans. Many will see it as not being “legitimate”, especially when putting men and women in the same competing arena. Many will assume a female athlete could not win against male competitors…but, how would anyone know if it has never truly been done…and certainly never been done to the extent athletes will be tested in SFUA‘s event. Examining top results or world records in specific sports or disciplines, where male athletes mostly dominate, and comparing between male and female results, does not show what is needed to become the “Ultimate Athlete”, it only shows who would perform better in one specific discipline… but, how would that same male competitor fair in 20 different competitions…possibly disciplines that would require different attributes and technical skills that he doesn’t necessarily master or even possess? And for all the skeptics out there, strength is indeed one element favoring male athletes…at least, some of them…and then again, maybe not…
I look forward to your comments and please pass along to friends, associates and sports fans.