Despite Women’s Strength, Stereotypes Still Nip Sports Performance – With No End in Sight

Nordic sports are pretty egalitarian, as far as athletics go - but women are still confronted, constantly, with stereotypes about what is and is not appropriate or possible for them to do. In southern France, two researchers are focusing on what effects these stereotypes have on women's participation and performance in a wide range of sports, and explained their findings in an interview.

Continuing with the athlete development theme recently, here’s a graph showing the age at which a skier races in their first WC versus their overall median WC result: For fairly obvious reasons, you have read this fairly carefully, particularly at the more extreme ages. I wouldn’t pay much attention to either panel past the age [...] Related posts:

  1. Skiing Performance and Age
  2. Performance Trends: ITA, FIN, GER
  3. Yet Another Athlete Development Marker

While we’re waiting for the cross-country season to get under way… The alpine World Cup season kicked off this past weekend in Soelden, Austria with Giant Slalom events for both men and women. Here’s a race snapshot graph for the men’s race on Sunday: American Ted Ligety won by a rather impressive margin. Apparently, that [...] Related posts:

  1. How Well Prepared Are World Cup Rookies? (Part 1a: Distance)
  2. How Well Prepared Are World Cup Rookies? (Part 2b: Sprint)
  3. Predicting FIS Points For World Cup Races

Well, ok, not ever.  Just over the past 20 seasons or so. There are all sorts of different ways we could measure this.  First, some ground rules: I’m only going to look at actual World Cup races, no Olympics or World Championships.  I’m also excluding Tour de Ski events because these are my rules, so [...] Related posts:

  1. Most Unimproved Men: Distance
  2. Most Unimproved Women: Distance
  3. Is It Panic Time For The Norwegian Men’s Distance Skiers?

As promised from last time, here we have the detailed development plots for sprinting. First the men: And the women: As before, these are big, so click on them for the full versions. Also, remember that if you don’t see a line indicating one of the events, that’s because two or more events happened at [...] Related posts:

  1. FIS Points Development Guide
  2. Is Sprinting A Young Person’s Game?
  3. Yet Another Athlete Development Marker

As promised from last time, I’m going to show you the un-aggregated data from Tuesday’s plots. This means we’re going to have some big graphs, bigger than I typically think is useful, but no matter. I’ve plotted FIS points versus age for each of the male and female skiers with a podium result in a [...] Related posts:

  1. Post-WJC/U23 Development: Canada
  2. FIS Points Development Guide
  3. Applying FIS Point Development Curves To The USST

I happened to be thinking about visualizations of athlete development recently, and in the process cooked up the following graph: What I’ve done here is to take the podium finishers in major international events for the past five seasons and recorded each person’s age when they received their first (individual) WC/OWG/WSC start, when they scored [...] Related posts:

  1. Post-WJC/U23 Development: Canada
  2. Post-WJC/U23 Development: Norway
  3. FIS Points Development Guide

Following up from last time, we’ll look a little more closely at the individual trends among some of the top Swedish women in distance and sprint events. First the distance skiers (click through for a larger version): Not surprisingly, Charlotte Kalla is generally the top performer here. But notice that there’s a bit of a [...] Related posts:

  1. Most Improved: Women’s Distance
  2. Most Improved: Women’s Distance
  3. Most Un-Improved: Women’s Distance

Reading the recent interview with Rikard Grip, the Swedish women’s coach got me thinking about how they’ve fared recently. From a very broad perspective for the whole team, we have the following in distance events: Clearly their depth has greatly improved, as evidenced by the dramatic rise in the number of top 30 results per [...] Related posts:

  1. Most Improved: Women’s Sprint
  2. Comparing Variability In Men’s & Women’s Sprinting
  3. European Mid-Season Review

Continuing with my summer reading of XC news, I again perused an one of FIS’s short interviews, this time with Switzerland’s Laurien Van der Graaff. Unlike Masako Ishida, whom we considered earlier this week, Van der Graaff is a sprint specialist, and a freestyle sprint specialist at that. Van der Graaff really did have a [...] Related posts:

  1. Can Kikkan Randall Win The Sprint WC Title?
  2. Can Kikkan Randall Win The Sprint World Cup?
  3. Career Retrospective: Odd-Bjoern Hjelmeset

Everyone wants to nab podiums at the World Cup level, which means everyone can be pretty fascinated with the development characteristics of those skiers who end up on the podium. Here’s yet another way to slice that. If we take the skiers who’ve attained at least one podium result at the WC level between 2006-2007 [...] Related posts:

  1. Post-WJC/U23 Development: Canada
  2. Post-WJC/U23 Development: Germany
  3. Post-WJC/U23 Development: Italy

This is by no means a comprehensive look at how we fared this year, just one perspective based on a single graph. One of the things that I pay closest attention to is depth: how many different skiers do we have performing at a particular level. The reason for this is that for relatively “small” [...] Related posts:

  1. Mid-Season Recap: North American Distance
  2. Mid-Season Review: North American Sprint
  3. North American WSC Assessment

    Unfortunately, we have a distinct theme for this week’s posts. Jenny Olsson also passed away recently, apparently from breast cancer. She raced, quite successfully, for Sweden for much of the mid-00′s: These are just her WC level distance results (she didn’t sprint much). As you can see, 2002-2003 was her best effort, but [...] Related posts:

  1. Career Retrospective: Anna Olsson
  2. Most Un-Improved: Distance 2011
  3. Career Retrospective: Petra Majdic

Last in the series of most improved/unimproved we finally turn to the women’s sprinters: Alena Prochazkova took a major tumble this season in sprints. She had been a fairly reliable presence in the semifinals until this season, when she appeared to often have trouble qualifying. Celine Brun-Lie also saw a major drop-off, but the much [...] Related posts:

  1. Most Unimproved Women: Distance
  2. Most Unimproved: Men’s Sprint
  3. Most Unimproved: Women’s Sprint

Moving right along to the most improved women’s sprinter (at least, according to the metric laid out in this post). Here’s the collection: As usual, you can click on it for a slightly larger version. Once again, I think we’re seeing that North America had a pretty across the board incredible year in sprinting, with [...] Related posts:

  1. Most Improved: Men’s Sprint
  2. Most Improved: Women’s Sprint
  3. Most Improved: Women’s Distance

Last in the sequence of related posts covering distance events, the most un-improved women from this season: As always, you can click through for a slightly larger version. The Slovakian Prochazkova takes the cake here with what looks like a small set of somewhat mediocre results after two fairly strong seasons. The small number of [...] Related posts:

  1. Most Improved: Women’s Distance
  2. Most Un-Improved: Distance 2011
  3. Most Improved: Men’s Distance

Moving on from last time to the most improved in women’s distance events…you can read that post for an explanation of the metrics I’m using, and the usual round of caveats. Here’s the top twelve: As before, you can click through for a slightly larger version. By these measures, Sweden’s Sofia Bleckur comes out on [...] Related posts:

  1. Most Improved: Men’s Distance
  2. Most Improved: Women’s Distance
  3. Most Improved: Distance 2011