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Elementary School Track & Field Super Meet
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User since:
Oct 8th, 2014
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Nurmi said 3 days ago

Standards disparity for male and female youth athletes?

I looked up the tracking page for the Youth Commonwealth Games and noticed that there was an enormous difference between the standards for men and women for that competition: 55 female athletes had achieved standard while only 8 male athletes got in (or about 7 females for each male). The final selection equalizes things (17 to 7). Does anybody know the rationale for such disparity? Do those numbers reflect an existing difference in quality, or are the standards for female athletes easier to get than the ones for male athletes FOR THAT PARTICULAR COMPETITION? Are they not accurately taking into account differences in development? Or is it that our best male youth athletes are doing hockey, basketball, etc. instead of track?

And, if we assume our female youth athletes are not THAT MUCH better than our male ones, what effect does the disparity in standards have? If you are a male, it practically means that if you get the standard, you get in (7 out of 8). But if you are female, the standard does not mean that much (in the 800m, for instance, 11 women made the standard).

Does this make sense to you?

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  • oldster User since:
    Sep 25th, 2013
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    Oldster said 3 days ago

    Quoting: Nurmi
    "I looked up the tracking page for the Youth Commonwealth Games and noticed that there was an enormous difference between the standards for men and women for that competition: 55 female athletes had achieved standard while only 8 male athletes got in (or about 7 females for each male). The final selection equalizes things (17 to 7). Does anybody know the rationale for such disparity? Do those numbers reflect an existing difference in quality, or are the standards for female athletes easier to get than the ones for male athletes FOR THAT PARTICULAR COMPETITION? Are they not accurately taking into account differences in development? Or is it that our best male youth athletes are doing hockey, basketball, etc. instead of track?

    And, if we assume our female youth athletes are not THAT MUCH better than our male ones, what effect does the disparity in standards have? If you are a male, it practically means that if you get the standard, you get in (7 out of 8). But if you are female, the standard does not mean that much (in the 800m, for instance, 11 women made the standard).

    Does this make sense to you?"


    I'm not familiar with the long term data on the other events, but I can tell you that the girls at this age have been vastly outperforming the boys in the distance events for at least a couple of years. The 1500 and 3,000 standards (4:33 and 9:46) are very close to the old and long standing OFSAA records for grade 10s (essentially what this team is made up of, since standards had to be met by between May 1 of 2016 and May 1 of 2017), and yet multiple athletes have hit them, some by a substantial margins. We'll see if this is an historical anomaly, but for now there is a very real difference.

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  • kempertoo User since:
    Mar 27th, 2015
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    Kempertoo said 3 days ago

    I actually think it was more of a product of timing. The qualification period ended on April 30, which essentially meant that kids had to run their times in Grade 10. There is a much smaller disparity between Grade 10 and 11 girls than there is between Grade 10 and 11 boys (due to physical maturity). Not sure I agree that there is huge "talent" disparity, although we do have a very good group of girls in the middle distances right now.

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  • oldster User since:
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    Oldster said 2 days ago

    Quoting: Kempertoo
    "I actually think it was more of a product of timing. The qualification period ended on April 30, which essentially meant that kids had to run their times in Grade 10. There is a much smaller disparity between Grade 10 and 11 girls than there is between Grade 10 and 11 boys (due to physical maturity). Not sure I agree that there is huge "talent" disparity, although we do have a very good group of girls in the middle distances right now."


    I think we can assume that girls greater maturity in grade 10 versus boys is already "baked into" these standards, if they were set based on long term averages (e.g. World Youth performances). My point was that this crop of girls is very fast and deep compared to other girl's cohorts historically. Assuming these standards were set based on long term historical averages, it makes sense that this cohort of girls would be beating them at a greater rate than would this group of boys, whose times are pretty average by historical standards. This, along with something like our World Junior XC performances, is just more evidence that our girls are currently running well ahead of our boys in the distances. And I'm giving coaches the benefit of the doubt when I attribute this to superior "talent" and not simply, say, pushing the girls too hard for their age (why would we be any better or worse in this respect than girls' coaches from earlier periods?). But, there could be other factors at work (like perhaps historically better recruitment of girls into the sport).

    This post was edited by Oldster 2 days ago . 
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  • kempertoo User since:
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    Kempertoo said 2 days ago

    Actually the standards were based on World Youth standards which are for U18, not taking into account the early deadline. They were not adjusted to reflect physical differences between Grade 10 and Grade 11 boys. The 55 girls with standards were across all events (as compared to 7 males) not just distance. That having been said, I agree with you that there is a very strong group of middle distance girls right now.

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  • nurmi User since:
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    Nurmi said 2 days ago

    I think we all can agree on the strength of this group of middle distance young women, one only needs to look at times for the 3000m at the high school level for the last 2 or 3 years compared to the last 2 or 3 decades. But I wasn't sure to what extent the maturity differences were, as Oldster says, "baked" into the standards. The thing is, the differences are as big in the sprints as they are in the distance, and (although the numbers decrease quite a bit) there is still a 3-1 or 4-1 ratio in the rest of events (hurdles and field events). That's why I wasn't sure the numbers were simply reflecting the strength of this generation of 800-3000 young female runners.

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  • oldster User since:
    Sep 25th, 2013
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    Oldster said 2 days ago

    Quoting: Nurmi
    "I think we all can agree on the strength of this group of middle distance young women, one only needs to look at times for the 3000m at the high school level for the last 2 or 3 years compared to the last 2 or 3 decades. But I wasn't sure to what extent the maturity differences were, as Oldster says, "baked" into the standards. The thing is, the differences are as big in the sprints as they are in the distance, and (although the numbers decrease quite a bit) there is still a 3-1 or 4-1 ratio in the rest of events (hurdles and field events). That's why I wasn't sure the numbers were simply reflecting the strength of this generation of 800-3000 young female runners."


    Agreed that the qualification window probably had a slight skewing effect (no idea exactly how much, on average, however). And I really don't know the scene in other events (but very interesting that it's similar there). What I DO know, however, is that, even with an extra season in which to hit times, this group of distance girls was always going to outperform the boys relative to standards by a significant margin. Again, no idea yet why that might be, or if it will continue.

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  • new-post-last-visitanonymous Anonymous
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    Anonymous said 2 days ago

    Comparison of average of top 5 grade 11's (based on AC rankings) compared to top 5 younger athletes for 2015 and 2016.

    Shows average improvement / decline in grade 11.

    Boys
    800m - 2.98 second improvement (1.55.54 to 1..52.56)
    1500m - 5.50 second improvement (3.59.98 to 3.54.48)
    3000m - 8.87 second improvement (8.41.48 to 8.32.62)

    Girls
    800m - 0.46 second decline (2.09.54 to 2.10.01)
    1500m - 0.15 second decline (4.29.01 to 4.29.16)
    3000m - 2.72 second decline (9.40.85 to 9.43.58)

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