In others, the divide is being bridged by the introduction of mixed team or relay events, with the Winter and Summer Olympics now a showcase for multi-sex events in a range of sports, including triathlon, aerial skiing and swimming.
The nature of some of these events means tactics are just as important as performance, with the order of the mixed medley relay in swimming, for example, crucial to the outcome. And while each team must have two female and two male competitors, stars like Emma McKeon and American Caeleb Dressel often find themselves in direct competition.
Power sports like singles tennis make rudimentary matches between men and women generally difficult at elite level, although there are a host of other sports where there is little or no performance gap.
Horse racing is a prime example, with star jockeys like Jamie Kah rising through the ranks to become one of the best in the business. Equestrian eventing falls into a similar category and the list goes on, although many, if not most, are still divided into competitions for the different genders.
In table tennis, an Olympic warm-up event in China saw the women’s team beat the men in their version of the battle of the sexes, while sports including sailing, curling and badminton and mixed doubles tennis regularly see men and women in direct rivalry.
The next challenge for major sports like golf is how far and how fast integration can be pushed. Maybe one day Augusta’s green jacket will have to be adapted for a women’s Masters champion.
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