Are there any sports women are equal to, or have an advantage over men?

“Sport,” for the purposes of this question, being defined as a competitive, athletic, physical activity.

Are there any sports where women, in general, have an advantage over men, or can at least compete on an even playing field (no pun intended)?

Or are the fundamental physical advantages of males, in general, always an “unfair” advantage?

Olympic equestrian is co-ed (IIRC think there’s only 2 coed olympic sports, one is equestrian and the other is… biathlon maybe? something with shooting). In one case a husband and wife were both on a medal team (US - David and Karen O’Connor, David’s mother Sally was also a very famous internationally ranked competitor and trainer).

The London olympics silver-medal winning British team, pictured here, consisted of four women and one man. The only person to ever win the “triple crown of eventing” (Rolex-Kentucky, Burghley and Badminton) is a woman, Pippa Funel of Great Britain.

Horse sports.

Women compete on equal footing with men in Equestrian disciplines in the Olympics, and for other horse riding and driving disciplines there may still be “Ladies classes”, as a holdover, but those are an exception and certainly not the rule. Women jockeys ride in the same races as men too.

With horses, strength is important but not paramount. More often it’s finesse and suppleness that are needed, not so much brute power. Riders are athletes without a doubt, but it’s more along the lines of a dance-athleticism than a weightlifting or boxing kind (if that makes sense).

(Ninja’d, dammit! :stuck_out_tongue: )

Limbo contests.

There was the “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match in which Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs. Obviously it doesn’t single-handedly prove that women are better than men at tennis, but it’s worth noting.

Bad example. Billie Jean King was in her 30s and Bobby Riggs was in his 50s.
The top women’s tennis players wouldn’t likely be ranked in men’s tennis.

My guess is horse sports are more evenly matched due in part to weight requirements. The riders need to be close to the same weight (or will be after extra weight is added to them).

I wonder if for things like running if the wider hips of women contribute to a worse gait. It would be interesting if any studies have been done based on waist/hip ratio and other anthropometric values - as to compare men and women with the same body composition, femur length, height, weight, etc.

It might not have much of a cross over, but you probably could construct equations to show if they’d be the same if all other factors were equal. And also you’d know what those factors were.

Aerodynamic drag, wide hips, testosterone levels…

The Battle of the Sexes was important and King deserves a lot of respect for her advocacy - which continues to this day - but no, it doesn’t prove that the best female players could beat the best male players. Even the best female players don’t think that would happen.

No, not really worth noting…

I’m not a judge, but it seems like the most famous gymnasts are women.

Long distance swimming.

As I recall rock climbing is kind of an odd case. Since men are stronger with longer arms but women are smaller, lighter and more flexible there are rock faces that are physiologically much harder for members of one gender to climb than the other.

lisiate I think has a good admittedly sweeping generalization here:

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There have been the occational complaints that Danica Patrick has an unfair advantage by being lightweight when racing open wheel Indy cars. IIRC, her histoic win did come when others ran out of gas. It’s more about size than gender, although I havn’t heard the same regarding smaller male drivers.

Not really a sport, but women tend to do better at withstanding high g forces in the centrifuge tests they do for fighter pilots. This doesn’t necessarily make them better fighter pilots since other things factor into it as well (like the fact that men are on average more aggressive), but all other things being equal, women pilots could on average push an acrobatic plane farther with respect to g forces than men, assuming that the plane could actually tolerate those forces.

Again, not really a sport, but it is a competitive, athletic, physical activity as defined by the OP. The competitive aspects are more pass/fail as far as the tests are concerned, but there’s a bit of competitiveness among the pilots for bragging rights and such as to who was able to tolerate higher g forces in the machine.

I am asking this out of complete ignorance, but is table tennis a contender? It’s a sport in the Olympics, so I’m going to assume it meets someone’s definition of a non-judged individual sport.

So as a person who really knows zero about the sport, is the strength of the athlete such a huge factor that the best women couldn’t be competitive with the best men? It doesn’t really seem like a big strength sport to me, but that’s my perspective from, you know, watching it in a bar when the Olympics is on.

Ultramarathon is one, it seems.

And there was a recent article in the Washington Post on sex differences in sports that suggested ski jumping - which was just added as an Olympic event for women this year - might be another. The article notes:

There its quite hard to compare because men’s and women’s gymnastics have different events. If men had to compete against women in balance beam or vaulting horse, women would surely crush them every time do to their advantage in flexibility and small size. But women would consistently lose to men in the events like rings or the pommel horse due to the male advantage in upper body strength.

Effectively, men and women both doing “gymnastics” at the Olympic level are doing different sports. I don’t believe men, even if given the correct training, could beat women at women’s gymnastic events.

Thing is, a contest like that is pretty much tailored to ensure that the “top 20 men” win. Men are more variable than women, more prone to extremes; the very best men at something will almost always be better than the best women because of that even if women are on average as good or better.

If comparing extremes like that is a valid standard, then one can argue just as easily that women are “superior” because the worst women are better than the worst men - because the worst men are dead, mentally or physically disabled or insane. Men are more prone to extremes in both directions.

Synchronized swimming? All kidding aside, I think that “Synchro” requires flexibility that favors women. But then again, it’s a judged event, so we open up the “is it really a sport” can of worms.

I used to read a lot about how women routinely outrun men at ultramarathon distances. Up to marathon distance, women are a little slower, but once we’re talking about 50-100 mile runs, the sexes are evenly matched.