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Lynda B. Ransdell and Christine L. Wells

Do women out-perform men in endurance sports? Are women as strong, pound for pound, as men? Many questions have been raised about the ability of women and men to perform physical tasks equally well. The issue of sex differences and similarities in performance has considerable significance today as women seek physically demanding careers in police-work, fire-fighting, the military, industry, and athletics. As more women participate in recreational and career opportunities formerly open only to men, knowledge about sex differences in response to physical exertion and training becomes increasingly important. In this paper we describes differences between the sexes in athletic performance.

Most performance differences are due to variations in morphological (structural) or physiological characteristics typical of women and men (Wells, 1991). Nevertheless, variations in these characteristics are often as large or larger within each sex as they are between the sexes. The same is true of physical performance. Thus, when the entire population is considered, there are extensive differences in performance within each sex, and considerable overlap in performance between the sexes.

We will base our examination of performance differences on the most outstanding performances of each sex: those exemplified by World Records in athletic events. We seek to answer such questions as: How large are sex differences in world record performances? Can existing performance differences be explained entirely by biological differences between the sexes? Or, are a large portion of these performance differ-ences attributable to sociocultural factors?

We will analyze sex differences in performance relative to the human energy system. This system allows an extraordinary range of mechanisms for neuromuscular coordination and metabolism. Because of this, the human has a virtually unlimited movement repertoire and is capable of movements requiring large bursts of energy over very brief periods of time, as well as movements requiring low levels of energy production over very long periods of time. We will progress from sports that require very high intensity and explosive quality movements such as jumping and power lifting, through the “energy spectrum” to feats of endurance such as marathon running, ultra-distance triathlon, and open-water distance swimming.

Due to our desire to focus this paper on a reasonable amount of data, our analysis will be limited as follows:

1) for sex differences in high intensity-brief duration, explosive per-formance, we will discuss the high jump, long jump, and various mea-sures of strength (powerlifting),

2) for sex differences in high intensity-short duration performance, we will present data on sprint running (100m, 400m) and swimming (100m),

3) for sex differences in moderate intensity-moderate duration performance, we will discuss middle-distance running (1500m, 5000m, 10,000m), and swimming (1500m), and

4) for differences in low intensity-long duration performance, we will discuss the marathon, the "Ironman Triathlon," and open ocean distance swimming.

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Øyvind Sandbakk, Guro Strøm Solli and Hans-Christer Holmberg

women. For example, the sex differences of world records in running races from 100 m to the marathon declined gradually until the 1990s, 2 , 3 with similar trends in most other sports, as well. In fact, the linear regressions predicted that women would soon outrun men. However, as expected from the sex

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Xiaoyue Hu, Jingxian Li and Lin Wang

surface) and some intrinsic (such as age, sex, and injury history) factors are considered as sports injury risk factors ( Murphy, Connolly, & Beynnon, 2003 ). Notably, sex difference, as a type of intrinsic factor of sports injury, may induce different sports injuries ( Murphy et al., 2003 ). Females may

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Lisa E. Bolger, Linda A. Bolger, Cian O’ Neill, Edward Coughlan, Wesley O’Brien, Seán Lacey and Con Burns

, Plotnikoff, Callister, & Lubans, 2015 ), although some studies have reported no sex-related differences within overall FMS performance ( Hardy, King, Farrell, Macniven, & Howlett, 2010 ; Kordi, Nourian, Ghayour, Kordi, & Younesian, 2012 ). Sex differences in FMS proficiency have predominantly been explained

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Shogo Takano, Yoshitaka Iwamoto, Junya Ozawa and Nobuhiro Kito

discrepancy has not been found, differences in lower extremity movement patterns between women and men during weight-bearing activities may contribute to sex differences in the incidence of PFP. 4 With the difference in lower extremity movement patterns between sexes, much attention has been paid to hip

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Jonathon Senefeld, Carolyn Smith and Sandra K. Hunter

The sex difference in marathon running is increased with lower participation of women than men, but whether this occurs for ultramarathon running is not known. The study purpose was to determine whether the sex difference in performance widens among lower-placed runners and the association between the sex difference in running speed and participation rates. The top-10 ultramarathon running times, age at performance date, and the number of men and women finishers were analyzed from 20 races (45–160 km) in the US Track and Field Ultra Running Grand Prix. Men were faster than women for all events (18.7% ± 5.8%, P < .001). The sex difference in speed was the least for 100 km (14.9% ± 4.2%) and greatest for 45–50 km (19.3% ± 5.8%). The top-10 men were younger than the top-10 women (37.7 ± 3.2 and 39.0 ± 3.1 y, respectively, P < .001). The sex difference in speed increased with finishing place (1st place 15.6% ± 6.6% vs 10th 20.8% ± 5.6%, P < .001). Association analysis showed that the sex difference in speed was largest when there were fewer women than men finishers in a race; the strength of the association was greatest for the 80-km distance and least for the 160-km. Lower participation rates of women than men in the lower-distance ultramarathons and less depth among lower-placed women runners inflate the sex difference in ultramarathon performance.

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Don W. Morgan, Wayland Tseh, Jennifer L. Caputo, Ian S. Craig, Daniel J. Keefer and Philip E. Martin

The purpose of this study was to quantify running economy (RE) during level treadmill running in 6-year-old children and to identify the potentially mediating effects of resting oxygen uptake and body fat percentage on sex differences in RE. Resting oxygen uptake (VO2), body fat, and RE at 5 mph were quantified in 15 boys and 20 girls following 30 min of treadmill accommodation. While absolute VO2 and mass-related values of gross and net VO2 were significantly higher in boys compared to girls, gross VO2 expressed relative to fat-free mass was not different between sexes. These results indicate that 6-year-old girls exhibit better RE compared to 6-year-old boys when VO2 is expressed as a function of total body mass. This sex difference in VO2 may reflect an increase in aerobic energy demands associated with the presence of a greater muscle mass in boys.

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Harri Luchsinger, Jan Kocbach, Gertjan Ettema and Øyvind Sandbakk

sprint races among men. 2 However, it is still unclear how much of the overall performance in individual races is explained by course time and shooting variables. In our previous study on Biathlon World Cup sprint races, we found no sex difference in shooting performance, 1 which is in line with

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Ralph Beneke and Renate M. Leithäuser

between 0.018% and 1.7%. 2 Just as a comparison, the global fraction of ginger-haired people approximates 1% to 2%. 3 A major factor for the sex differences in performance is a well-established dose–response relationship between circulating testosterone and muscle mass, strength, and hemoglobin level

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Mindy Millard-Stafford, Ann E. Swanson and Matthew T. Wittbrodt

media (eg, under isolated competitions when women outperform male competitors). The sex difference in performance is highly cited over several decades, predominantly in sports measured objectively by time (eg, running and swimming), centimeters, and kilograms. However, elite athletes by their nature are