Gender Equality Relays at Oympics


gender relays olympics

In Tokyo, male and female are teaming up during a series of mixed-gender events that are making their Olympic debuts.

TOKYO — After winning the trophy in one among the new Olympic events at the Tokyo Games, Alejandra Valencia of Mexico recalled the instant when her partner nearly blew it.

“I just said, ‘It is Okay, you recognize the various many thanks to trying to try to to this!’” she recalled. “And I gave him a touch hit.”

Valencia’s partner, Luis Alvarez, had misfired alongside his first arrow of the second set in mixed team archery. But buoyed partially by Valencia’s exhortation, Alvarez refocused because the Mexicans defeated a two-people team from Turkey and made the medal podium — together.

In Tokyo, more male and female than ever before are teaming up to compete during a series of mixed-gender events that are making their Olympic debuts: relays in track and swimming, mixed pistol and rifle competitions on the shooting gallery, mixed judo and mixed Ping-Pong.

The most high-profile moments yet for the mixed events occurred on Saturday, with the 4x100-meter medley relay final in swimming and thus the 4x400-meter relay in track and field.

When the 4x400 mixed relay was added to the Olympic program in 2018, it appeared like a sure medal — maybe even gold — for us, which had lost the men’s version of the Olympic relay only twice since 1984. The United States women have won their event per annum since 1996.

That record translated into confidence heading into the finals, albeit Allyson Felix, the foremost decorated female track athlete the country has produced — and one among the highest quarter-milers in the world — opted to not race within the event. If she had, it would have yielded Felix a world-leading 10th Olympic medal.

But if the inaugural version of the race proved anything, it had been that this event might find yourself being one among the more unpredictable of the Games. An enormous crash took out Germany and nearly eliminated Jamaica.

By the time Vernon Norwood took the baton from Kaylin Whitney, we saddled in fourth place. Norwood motored round the backstretch, and by the time he came off the far turn, he was stepping into second place. Poland ended up winning the race, and Alexander Ogando of the Dominican Republic edged Norwood by one-hundredth of a second to wish the silver. We ended up with a trophy .

In all, seven sports added gender-mixed events, which have proved popular among the sports persons while helping Olympic officials create the looks of greater gender equality, a thorny topic at the Games for decades.

“The mixed events are really important to us because I feel they embody the equality of men and ladies athletes on the world of play,” said Kit McConnell, the sports director of the International Olympic Committee. “In some ways, there’s nothing more equal than a male and feminine competing together a team on an equivalent field of play.”

On Saturday, the Olympics also unveiled the triathlon mixed relay, as teams of 4 — two men, two women — went head-to-head. Each athlete had to swim 300 meters, bicycle 6.8 kilometres then run 2 kilometres before tapping the hand of a teammate to start their leg of the relay. The us came away with a silver . It was the second medal of the Games for Katie Zaferes, who won a trophy within the women’s race.

“Having the camaraderie and racing as a team just gives you such tons of energy, and it makes it even more significant,” Zaferes said. “When you race for yourself, it’s one thing. But when people are counting on you, it is an entire other feelings.”

A couple of hours later, there was chaos within the pool as swimming staged the last word of the 4x100-meter mixed medley. The race requires two men and two women to swim 100-meter legs of the backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle — therein order. But each country can decide who swims which stroke, no matter gender, making the race a mathematical and tactical calculation.

“I love the strategy,” said Duncan Scott, who has won three medals for Britain at the Tokyo Games.

On Saturday, the race’s unique configuration meant that Lydia Jacoby, the gold medalist within the women’s 100-meter breaststroke, aroused swimming the second leg for the United States against Adam Peaty of England, the men’s world-record holder. Caeleb Dressel, the men’s 100-meter freestyle champion, later anchored the Americans by trying to swim down three women but was too far behind and was slowed by choppiness that churned in front of him. The us finished fifth, three seconds behind Britain, whose relay team set a record.

There is often a learning curve for those involved in new events — which incorporates track and field officials. On Friday, during a qualifying round of the 4x400-meter mixed relay, our team was briefly disqualified for handing off the baton outside of the exchange zone between the primary and second legs. After an appeal, the team was reinstated when it had been determined that a race official had lined up Lynna Irby, one among the American runners, within the wrong spot.

The final is Saturday. Like swimming, each team can choose when men and women run, making the event especially engaging for viewers who must attempt to keep track of who features a tactical advantage. Every team within the final had women racing second and third and men leading astray and anchoring.

Of the nearly 11,000 athletes competing in Tokyo, about 49% are women, consistent with the I.O.C., a big increase from previous Games. The committee itself, though, remains overwhelmingly male, with women making up just a 3rd of its executive board.

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