Olympic Luge - why different starting points for men and women?

What’s the reason that men’s and women’s Olympic luge start at different places at on the track? It’s not like the women’s marathon is shorter then the men’s.


“different places” = Higher start = faster speed. those in a position of authority have determined that ladies aren’t as capable of handling the increased velocity.

no comment on whether that’s a proper assessment.

Just my SWAG but since women are typically lighter maybe there is some concern that they are more easily launched out of the course they bump a wall at the speeds men take.

I think it’s kind of obvious you need more strength to keep control of your sled at higher speeds, so if we except that men are probably stronger than women it is also reasonable to think that they can handle more speed.

BTW The ski runs are also different for women, they skate and (ski) shorter distances in speedskating (and cross country skiing) and appearantly they can’t be very physical in ice hockey. Just saying that sports sometimes adjust for men and women having different characteristics.

Lugers have their head hanging off the back of the sled, supported only by their neck.

Centripetal acceleration in the turns is proportional to the square of the speed; with 90% of the speed, you experience only 81% of the g-forces. Is this possibly a factor? How many g’s do they pull in the final turn, where they’re doing 80+ MPH? Is it enough so that men are able keep their head up only with great effort, and women would struggle to do so at the same speeds?

How do those things steer anyway? Obviously not like my old Flexible Flyer. IS ti weight shift only?

Yes, luge is weightshift. At such speeds as they have only minor shifts are needed to steer, which is why you’ll hear commentators droning on about such minor things as how still someone’s feet are or aren’t or the set of their shoulders.

The information I dug up on luge indicates the riders are subjected to up to 7g’s at times. Although there is evidence that woman have more tolerance for g-forces, that has more to do with likelihood of passing out and physical strength that allows you to manipulate your body and objects is a different matter. Keep in mind, too, that luge is a “gravity game”, that is, powered by gravity and such things as different weights and body shapes could have a significant effect on performance. Although I haven’t studied it in detail, I think that there is room to argue that the performance of men and women in this sport are different enough based on physical reasons that separate competition makes sense.

I personaly think it’s because the organizers think women are too fragile to go that fast. There’s also no good reason for women to play three sets of tennis instead of five.

Women don’t seem to have any problem competing at the highest levels of auto racing, which involves similar conditioning and strength.

Also, the Ski Jump normal hill record at Whistler was set by a woman; it’s evident that there’s not much difference wrt physical ability there.

Since the men and women are not competing, there’s no reason they should run on different tracks other than tradition (aka sexim).

They don’t :dubious:

How many woman drivers are there in F1?

How many in Nascar (I think its one right, our of how many?)

How many ladies in WRC?

How many in ETCC?

How many in Australian V8 Supercars?

How many in CanAm series?

I think it is more an acceptance of reality. There are physiological differences between male and female humans. This does not assign value or preference of one gender over the other. Boys and girls are different, which is a good thing. It would be a boring world if we were all the same.

At the same time, I am all for true, actual equality: women in the NFL, equal rules in tennis, any gender can compete against whomever. Be careful what you wish for, as you might not like the result.

Asking how many is a different question than if they are capable, obviously. There have been several women in F1. Grand Am, ALMS, and LMS all have multiple, capable women drivers. Indy has several, including Danica Patrick, who has performed very well in every series she has been in.

There are a lot more men than women who get involved in racing professionally. That doesn’t have anything to do with capability. If you were able to show that equal numbers of men and women get involved in racing, yet a much smaller percentage of women were successful, you might have a point.

Take a look at the Top Gear celebrity lap times; the ladies do a pretty decent job – if there were some inherent difference, you would expect them to do a lot worse.

ETA: forgot to add NHRA, where there are at least 3 top contenders who are female. I believe there is one in the NASCAR truck series who does alright too.

Moving from GQ to The Game Room.

General Questions Moderator

OK…I’ll play that game…

There have been 5 (according to wiki)

"This is a list of female Formula One drivers, women who have entered a Formula One Championship Grand Prix since the inception of F1 in 1950.

Five women racing drivers have entered at least one Grand Prix, although only two of them ever qualified and started a race. The woman who competed in the most Grands Prix is Lella Lombardi, with 17 entries and 12 starts"

In the same period how many male drivers have there been?

In 2007, there was a record 3 female drivers, from a field of 27, which is already down from the convential 33

So women don’t like to make money? Or they all don’t enter because motor-racing is beneath them?

One lap is massively different from a race.

Again, ONE out of a field of how many? Doesn’t that tell you something?

No, it doesn’t tell me anything.

You’ve completely missed my point. Look at karting, which is where almost every top driver starts. Boys outnumber girls in karting in the US about 8:1.

There are fewer women that get into racing, therefore there are fewer top drivers who are women. This is obvious to anyone who pays attention to these sorts of things.

The problem with your argument is twofold: first, your reasoning is flawed because you are not accounting for the uneven interest between the sexes in the sport. There are far more men than women in the top shooting disciplines, but there’s no question that men and women are pretty equally capable there.

Second, you are making the claim that there is some sort of “difference” that directly translates into ability. Men and women score very close on reaction time, women have better fine motor control and tolerate G forces better. Men have better upper body strength, and possibly a better grasp of spacial mechanics. None of these differences would account for any serious difference in driving skills.

So what you need to do is come up with some sort of reason why men are better drivers that doesn’t just depend on “because you don’t see them as much”. That is only valid if there are roughly equal numbers of competitors who take it seriously. Your argument is ridiculous on it’s face; 50-60 years ago it would have been “proof” that women don’t make good doctors, CEOs, lawyers, or chefs. It’s specious and insulting to claim a difference when you can’t point to any serious differences (unlike, say, football, gymnastics, or weightlifitng, where physiological differences are obvious).

Then, can please educate me on WHY there aren’t as many woman at the top?

The first female drivers in F1 were teh 50s and 60s.

Why don’t as many girls get involved at a younger age? Interest could be part of it sure, but it I refuse to accept that its the ONLY reason.

There are very obvious physiological reasons why men are better - it takes a LOT of strength

“To begin, let’s answer the second question: Why? Immense forces or loadings created by F1 cars include lateral G-forces up to 4.5 G, or 25 kg on the neck of the driver. Longitudinal G-forces can also reach 4.5 G, sustained 3.5 G of cornering force in some instances, as well as braking of up to 4.5 G and acceleration of 1 G”
(from here: http://www.autoracing.com/blog/tag/strength/)

This takes a lot of strength, and to suggest otherwise is just silly. As mentioned earlier, the ability of women to better handle G forces was to do with not passing out - not the strength it requires to move the head, arms and legs.

There is also massive endurance involved.

men can do it better than women, simple as that. To say so is not sexist.

Why don’t women participate as much? There are many reasons. One is socially created gender roles – “women just can’t do it as well, honey, why don’t you try ballet”? There is also a lot of peer pressure, racing isn’t a “girl” thing to do. Males at the lower levels of racing also tend to be highly aggressive toward female drivers. It’s going to be much harder and less appealing to stay in a sport where sexism is tolerated and part of the culture.

It’s also an expensive sport, and attitudes like yours are problematic there as well; a girl might not get a sponsorship because “everyone knows” women just aren’t as good at racing.

Your strength argument is irrelevant as well. Danica Patrick is a tiny little woman, and she handles the G forces just fine, as do women in luge competitions, and women fighter pilots, and women in drag racing. And it doesn’t actually take an enormous amount of strength to handle cornering velocities, it takes conditioning. The differences between men and women are less than the differences between individuals.

If anything, I’d suggest that the increasing number of women in motorsports argues directly against your point, since only in the last few decades have we gotten tired of the sexist thinking that discourages women from participating in “men’s” sports.

Unless, of course, it’s some sort of statistical anomoly that we all of a sudden have these freakishly superstrong women making an appearance and doing pretty damn well. As a matter of fact, if you look at the percentage of women starting young in Karting, they are statistically more likely to go into professional racing than men.

Bolding mine. This is hugely important to representation, and is further indicatiive of the differences between male and female humans. Innate, social, or cultural reasons can account for why certain sports or activities tend to attract more participants from one gender than the other.

bengangmo clearly states that males are typically stronger than female humans, a statement that is correct. Note the word “typically” since we all can find exceptions.

As I posted earlier, I am all for true, actual gender equality. No more men’s or women’s professional golf competitions, just golf with no gender division. Same for the NFL, NBA, NHL, tennis, parental rights in custody battles, alimony, etc.

Ski jumping is not so much about strength than about technique and the lighter you are the longer you fly as a rule.