By John Affleck
While it was a huge sporting event in the United States in the years after the Civil War and was an early Olympic event, racewalking has been regarded for decades as something of a joke – at least in America. An episode of the sitcom “Malcolm in the Middle” was devoted to poking fun at it. The NCAA doesn’t hold a racewalking championship. Sports broadcaster Bob Costas once compared it to a contest to see who could whisper the loudest.
Still, racewalking is an Olympic event, with three medal events held at every Summer Games – and each of the golds counting just as much as the ones that adorn the neck of Michael Phelps.
Today, the races contested at the Olympics are 20 kilometers for both men and women and a 50-kilometer race just for men. The 20-kilometer men’s race was won on August 12 by China’s Wang Zhen with a time of 1 hour, 19 minutes, 14 seconds – a 6:20 mile pace that would win a fair number of 5-kilometer running races in the United States. The other two events take place August 19.
It may look odd, but racewalking has an interesting past and a controversial present, along with quirky rules that make it unique among track and field events.
Continue reading Don’t run (and don’t laugh): The little-known history of racewalking
By Jaime Schultz
On August 12, Dutee Chand became just the second female sprinter to represent India at the Olympic Games. Her road to Rio has been anything but easy.
In 2014, the International Association of Athletic Federations banned her from competition on the grounds that her body naturally produced too much testosterone, a condition called hyperandrogenism. It wasn’t her fault, the organization explained. But her condition gave her an unfair edge over other female athletes, according to the IAAF policy.
Chand appealed the ruling, and in July 2015, the Court of Arbitration for Sport determined that the IAAF:
“was unable to conclude that hyperandrogenic female athletes may benefit from such a significant performance advantage that it is necessary to exclude them from competing in the female category.”
Continue reading So what if some female Olympians have high testosterone?
I’m recently back from Steel City where Research On The Road gathered on a rainy Wednesday evening, April 30, for a quintessentially Pittsburghian night out: a talk by Penn State professor of kinesiology and history Mark Dyreson on the history of baseball.
Continue reading Pittsburgh, Baseball and Penn State Research…A Perfect Combination