Nonelite males routinely outperform the best elite females

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018

A female Duke Law School professor who competed in track and field internationally in the 1980s discusses the International Association of Athletics Federations’ new rules limiting entry into women’s events to athletes who have testosterone levels that are capable of being produced solely by ovaries:

Understanding the rules and why they make sense is hard. They are based in biology people don’t know or don’t like to talk about and, let’s be honest, at least in some circles, they’re politically incorrect. They force us to talk about women’s bodies when it is increasingly taboo to do so, and they run counter to the movement that seeks to include transgender and intersex people in social institutions based on their gender identity rather than their biology.

She’s writing in the New York Times, in case you couldn’t tell:

Advocates for intersex athletes like to say that sex doesn’t divide neatly. This may be true in gender studies departments, but at least for competitive sports purposes, they are simply wrong. Sex in this context is easy to define and the lines are cleanly drawn: You either have testes and testosterone in the male range or you don’t. As the I.A.A.F.’s rules provide, a simple testosterone test establishes this fact one way or the other.

Testosterone throughout the life cycle, including puberty, is the reason the best elite females are not competitive in competition against elite males. This 10- to 12-percent sex-based performance gap is well documented by sports and exercise scientists alike. But it isn’t the most important performance gap. Rather, that’s the mundane fact that many nonelite males routinely outperform the best elite females.

Each year, the world’s best time in the women’s marathon is surpassed by hundreds of men. The women’s world records in all of the races on the track from 100 meters to 10,000 meters are also surpassed by many men each year, including by many high school boys. For example, in 2017, 36 boys ran faster than Florence Griffith Joyner’s seemingly unassailable 100-meter record of 10.49.

There is no characteristic that matters more than testes and testosterone. Pick your body part, your geography, and your socioeconomic status and do your comparative homework. Starting in puberty there will always be boys who can beat the best girls and men who can beat the best women.

Because of this, without a women’s category based on sex, or at least these sex-linked traits, girls and women would not have the chance they have now to develop their athletic talents and reap the many benefits of participating and winning in sports and competition. Eric Vilain, a geneticist who specializes in differences of sex development, has been blunt about it: removing sex from the eligibility rules would “be a disaster for women’s sport … a sad end to what feminists have wanted for so long.”

This may sound like hyperbole but it isn’t. In competitive sport, winning and room at the top are what ultimately matter, so relative numbers are irrelevant. It doesn’t matter that there are 100 females and three males in a girls’ race if the three males win spots in the final or on the podium because they are males. The unusually high incidence of intersex athletes in the women’s middle distances and their reported 100 percent win share in the women’s 800 meters at the Olympic Games in Rio show their disproportionate power.


  1. Bob Sykes says:

    Vox Day, who himself plays organized soccer in Italy, notes that the top European women soccer team routinely practice against high school boy teams, and the women routinely lose to the boys.

    In terms of grip strength, the average man in the street is stronger than the typical woman Olympian.

  2. Mehere says:

    It is an uncomfortable fact that if gender equality was taken to tis extreme position, then there would be no women’s sports. All females would enter say, the 100m race or the World Cup or the Open at various sports.

    I am sure the Williams sisters would thrash me at tennis and some of the football (soccer) women are way beyond what a lot of men could do. But in the end, under true equality, there would be very few women lifting the trophies. Indeed those ” I like to think I am a woman” males who sometimes win women’s wrestling for example would lose badly.

  3. Jim says:

    I believe that most of the androgens in females are produced by the adrenal glands not the ovaries. Also testosterone I believe is not one of the adrenal gland androgens.

    One of the functions of androgens is to regulate the uptake of nitrogen by cells. This function is required in both males and females.

  4. Kirk says:

    This ground has been covered, extensively, by the Armed Forces. The problem is that the public, and the powers-that-be, have steadily stuck their fingers in their ears and ignored the facts and implications of those facts.

    I’ll grant you that since we’re no longer in a strictly muscle-powered world, that things have changed.

    However, huge ‘effing comma, the things that have changed are not those relating to athletics or physical capabilities. At least, not yet, and not until some dipshit gen-ee-ous biological engineer manages to fundamentally change the baseline characteristics of our significantly bifurcated sexual biology. We are a sexually dimorphic species, for good or ill.

    Changing that, I will continue to contend, is going to make for some interesting after-effects. You think you have problems getting the girls and boys to make babies now, wait until someone takes their ideology to its illogical extreme, and makes women and men into some sort of bastardized half-way house mixture of the two. It ain’t going to work out the way the mentally deranged theorists of today think it will, either, and that’s about the only thing I think I’d be willing to bet on, in regards to this.

    Men and women serve two fundamentally different roles in the biological matrix that is humanity. The problem we have is that fully one-half of that equation suddenly decided that they didn’t want to play by the rules that they’d mostly been the ones to establish, and “wanted it all”, but without taking up the responsibilities of the other gender role which were mostly invisible to them.

    I’m gonna go out on a sexist limb and say that there are a significant number of women in the Western world who are at a fundamental level, irrational. This has a lot to do with the constantly changing melange of hormones that bathe their brains, which most will deny. However, you can set your calendar by the time of month they’re in, and how belligerent they get and/or irrationally they behave. This ain’t a universal thing, but it is sure as hell prevalent enough to be able to make it an accurate stereotype. And, it is apparently a biological necessity for the physiology to hide the fertility cycle. If humans were more like cats or dogs, with clearly predicated periods of heat…? LOL–Imagine the effects on the human society resulting from that. Rational being for considerable periods of time, punctuated by short periods of crazed sexual tension. Not my cup of tea, thankyouverymuch. I have enough problems dealing with my dogs going into heat–I can only imagine what that sort of crap would look like in a fully sentient ape. Especially in one that had limited to no sexual dimorphism.

    Hell, to tell you the truth, I think one reason we have a situation where men are bigger than women is down to the fact that a smaller- or equal-sized male wouldn’t survive for very long alongside women who were able to physically dominate them. Those characteristics were probably bred out a long time ago, and partially for that reason. Supposedly, the Neanderthalers were less sexually dimorphic than we are, and you can see where that got them.

    Most of this issue is a case of the womenfolk sensing a “grass is greener” situation where there really isn’t one. I can tell you for a flat certainty that women really do not like the idea that they should take up male responsibilities alongside the theoretical “male privilege” that they perceive, and when you make doing that a prerequisite, they suddenly don’t want to play, anymore. The little darlings are just fine with not being liable for the draft, but they damn sure want to reach out with both hands for the benefits accrued to those who are.

    Leave it up to me, and I’d fundamentally restructure the way we handle all this BS–You want to play with the boys? Fine; here’s the deal: You get it all, the nasty with the shiny. Don’t want the nasty? You don’t get the shiny. And, I’d make that a rule for both the boys and the girls–You want first chance at the lifeboat? Fine; you’re a non-combatant protected class, and we don’t care what sex you might be. Want the benefits accruing to those who take the risks of being on the outside of the band, facing the lions…? Then you get to take your place on watch alongside the other young males, and chance getting eaten. You don’t get to be both–You’re either the protected, or the protector.

  5. Mikeski says:

    The USA women’s Olympic ice hockey team practices by playing boy’s high school teams, as well.

    So a few 16-to-18-year-old boys, selected from a geographically-localized group of maybe a few hundred, is a fair fight for the best adult women our entire nation has to offer.

    I assume they play under women’s Olympic rules with no body checking, otherwise they’d have to play against smaller junior-high or middle-school teams. Combat sports have weight classes for a reason, and the NFL doesn’t recruit from high school like the NBA does for that same reason. Size matters as much as strength and speed when you get to hit the other person.

    Reality is harsh, sometimes.

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