Sport Leo  

Marathon and women: from delusion to success

In the 1990s, between 6% and 7% of marathon participants were women.

Today at the finish line almost 10,000 “finishers” are finishing the race!

If this is impressive in France, in the United States it is much more than in Boston or Chicago, where 40% to 45% of women participate …

An essential fact is that during the New York Marathon in 2014, women were in the majority in the age group (18-29).

D where did the phenomenon of women’s running come from?

In 1967, Katherine Switzer took part in the Boston Marathon, signing her initials (K.V. Switzer), because at the time, if we knew it was a woman, she probably would not have received a bib!

Therefore, she starts her race, but a few kilometers after the start the organizer Ateur Jock Semple realizes that there is a woman in her race … “Ignominie!” – Get out of my race and give me these numbers! (“Get out of my race and give me your bib.”)

What he didn’t know was that his American footballer Tom Miller had vehemently rejected the organizer. out of the race.

She finished the race, she says, somewhat injured.

She later became a writer and also became the face of women’s sports with this feminist demand to demand that women can play sports like others.

Katherine Switzer marathon Boston 1967

“Women don’t play sports!”

Not so long ago, it was widely believed (as absurd as it may seem these days) that women have fragile constitutions and that this did not allow them any feats.

What was said about women in sports at the time:

  • If women were running, they would be sterile
  • Because, if they had not become sterile, in any case, they could not have given birth in a natural voice
  • Because in the end they could give birth, but not breastfeed
  • Etc.

No scientific basis has confirmed these eccentric theses of the time.

From running to cycling: the same fight

19th century discussions about women and cycling seem ridiculous today with our modern vision.

At the time it was said that the saddle position would work for female cyclists, uncontrollable sexual urges, and feared that, devoured by desire, they would fall or worse, that they would endanger passers-by on the sidewalk.

A sports doctor talks about sports for women:

Excerpt from documentary released in fall 2015, signed by Pierre Morat “Free to run”

This doctor explains that a woman who plays sports is not beautiful, this is a purely aesthetic criterion:

Physiological arguments of the time:

In the 1970s, Dr. Ludwig Prokop (IOC Medical Commission) said:

“Sport makes women ugly, tense their bodies, lowers their voice and, in some cases, grows a mustache or beard”

Why such an opinion about women in sports?

During the Cold War, everything was good for bragging on the international stage, including winning as many titles and medals as possible.

As a result, we saw the arrival of very male athletes. Back then it was believed that sports virilized women, but in fact it was the doping effect that had such an effect.

This worried observers at the time. the arrival of athletes such as the Czechoslovakian Yarmila Kratochvilova, who still holds a record of 800 meters and wore a very masculine silhouette.

At the time, she claimed it was her country life that earned her that muscle … but as she got older, she became a thin little woman (CQFD) again. It was more about taking hormones, steroids.

Jarmila Kratochvilova

From sport to gender change:

Surprisingly, this hormone soak has bothered a generation of athletes so much that on rare occasions people opted for a gender reassignment at the end of their careers, like Heidi Krieger, the late career launcher for Andreas Krieger.
Heidi Andreas Krieger


For women’s running, only in the 1960 Rome Games, distances of more than 400 meters were achieved. (for example, 800 meters).

For a marathon, it was only 1984, at the Los Angeles Olympics for the first women’s Olympic marathon.


All this brings a smile and a louse It was a little over 30 years ago …

When you put on your sneakers to run, indoors, outdoors, in a marathon or whatever, keep in mind all of these things that should give you Rage to surpass yourself!

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