woman running long distance against the sky background

Sports that women beat men and compete the same

Many men would say women in sport aren’t as good as men. But that isn’t always the case.  There are sports that women beat men at over the years.

Yes, in many disciplines women aren’t as good and are unlikely to ever be. Technically they may be as good, but in any sports requiring strength or speed, men will always win out.

There’s always the argument that where women can compare in results, there’s usually a differentiation between equipment size or weight, or distance covered to allow for women being smaller and weaker physiologically. 

With this difference in the sexes, it’s usually sports which involve specific equipment to power the person rather than them being the power.

Let’s look at sports where women can compete with men and win, even if it’s just aspects of the sport.

sports women can beat men at.

Sports where women can and do win over men

Equestrian – especially dressage. In the Olympics all but one gold medal in individual dressage since 1972 has gone to a woman, against male opposition. Eventing has also seen plenty of women beating the men in competition

Bowling – in 2010, Kelly Kulick became the first women to win a national tournament on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour. She took first prize in the Tournament of Champions beating 62 of the country’s top male bowlers to win the title.

Racing – Danica Patrick won the Japan Indy 300 in 2008, becoming the first woman to win a major auto race. 

Rock climbing – Lynn Hill became the first person to free-climb the Nose Route on the mountain El Capitan in Yosemite, in 1993. She’s on the list of the best climbers that also includes men.

Shooting – since women now have the same number of shots in 10 metre air rifle elite competitions as men, in point scoring, the final winners more frequently get more points. This isn’t seen in other precision sports like archery or even pistol shooting. It’s thought that the shooting jackets help remove the strength advantage. And that female body size and shape can benefit the stance needed compared with a man.

Horse racing – it’s becoming more common to see women riding in big stakes races. In the US, Bryony Frost won the second most important group 1 steeplechase, the King George. Holly Doyle in the UK rode 5 winners in an afternoon at Windsor last year.

Ultra running – women have beaten men in ultra running. Pamela Reed was the first woman to win the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon, finishing first in both 2002 and 2003. She was also the first person ever to run 300 miles without sleeping. 

Jasmin Paris finished the 268-mile Montane Spine Race, along the Pennine Way, Scotland in January 2019 in 83 hours and 12 minutes, breaking the record by 12 hours. And she was pumping breast milk for her baby all the while. The leading man finished in 98 hours.

woman running long distance against the sky background

Ultra-cycling – in July 2019 Fiona Kolbinger beat 200 men in the Transcontinental Race, cycling the 4,000 kilometres across Europe. She finished in 10 days, 2 hours, 48 minutes, leading the race from day 3, putting in 15-17 hours of cycling each day. The male runner-up, Ben Davies, finished 10 hours later.

Free diving – A woman currently holds the world record for the highest depth achieved in free diving. Evidently women tend to benefit when scuba and free diving – they’re more efficient with moving through water and have better air management due to having smaller lungs and needing less air than men. 

Football skills – footballer Ronaldo’s ex-wife, Milene Domingues held the World football keepee uppee record age 17. Specific skills were needed and a lot of practice.

Golf – yes women can’t hit as far as men, and their putting seems to be worse (it’s thought because they often spend more time practising with distance hitting). But for hitting the fairways and greens, their accuracy is so much higher than on the men’s PGA tour. 

Some sports see women’s skills being better than men’s, allowing for difference in equipment. For example, the women’s discus is thrown further than the men’s, although women throw a 1kg discus and men a 2kg.

Read about the benefits of playing sport at any age

There are plenty of sports where women compare and can beat men, but unsurprisingly it’s largely those which rely on skill rather than physical attributes.

Are there any sports you know of where women beat men regularly or hold the records?

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