This past November, U.S. skier Lindsey Vonn, an Olympic champion, was denied a chance to compete against men in the World Cup, a downhill-skiing competition. Vonn is a four-time women's World Cup champ. She felt the men's competition would give her the challenge she needed. The International Ski Federation refused to change the competition rules. Although Vonn suffered a serious knee injury in a race on February 5, she says she will not give up.
Few people would argue that Vonn doesn't have the skills to race against men. But some critics say men have strength and size advantages that make such competitions unfair. They say women should champion women's sports as exciting, competitive events in themselves.
Do you think women and men should compete against each other in sports? Here, two students share their views.
Kate Pollack, 10 Decatur, Georgia
If a woman is good enough at a sport to compete with a man, she should be allowed to do so. Skill should be the deciding factor, not gender. Men are not necessarily more athletic than women. So why should we prevent all women from competing against them? Wouldn't it make more sense to allow male and female athletes who are at the same competitive level the chance to play on the same team or against each other if they chose to?
Ethan Engler, 10 Aliso Viejo, California
It's not a good idea to allow men and women to compete against each other in sports. Male and female bodies are built differently. Men are naturally bigger and would have a competitive advantage, especially in strength-based activities. The winner in this type of competition may not be the best athlete. This is not to say that female athletes cannot be strong and powerful too. I just think their skills and strength are best matched against other female athletes with similar abilities.
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