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World Athletics Set To Ditch 'Chauvinistic Tradition' Amid Mounting Pressure

Max Sherry

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| Last updated 

World Athletics Set To Ditch 'Chauvinistic Tradition' Amid Mounting Pressure

The age-old practice of always staging women's finals being before the men's during athletics events has been in place for donkey's years.

Actually, it's been a tradition since athletics first began thousands of years ago.

But that's all about to change and one of Australia's greatest sports stars has thrown her support behind the move to shake-up the 'chauvinistic tradition'.

2012 Olympic gold medallist Sally Pearson has heaped praise on World Athletics after the sport's governing body announced its plans to have the women's 4x400 metres relay as the final event for the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Oregon.

It will be the first time in history that the event's climax won't be a men's track race.

Sally Pearson. Credit: PA
Sally Pearson. Credit: PA

"It is those finer details that I guess some people overlook and don't think of as important but when a young girl is growing up in this generation, when gender equality is very important, she's going to be asking questions like 'why do the men always go first or why are they always the last event to finish off a championship. Are they more special than us?" Pearson told News Corp.

"We certainly didn't ask those questions when I was growing because it didn't cross our minds but now that it's been put to the forefront, we need to look at those finer details and make sure that women's events and performances are celebrated as equally as the men's performances."

On the whole, athletics has been the standout leader in pushing for gender equality in recent years - and other sports will definitely be taking note of this latest move.

"Gender equality should no longer be a theoretical discussion in any organisation," World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said.

"We should all be taking action by identifying barriers, reviewing our policies and practices, and creating clear pathways for women to rise, contribute and participate at all levels."

As well as being a technical athlete consultant on the High Performance team for the Tokyo Olympic Games, Pearson is also currently a mentor with Athletics Australia.

But since her retirement in 2019, the 34-year-old has put her efforts into helping address gender inequalities and bias in sport.

And now, finally, it seems she's seeing some much-needed change.

"These things are popping up that I think we don't realise have a huge impact in making women's events, or women's sport, or women in particular... having their performances recognised as just as important as the men's," she told The Ticket.

"I think it's fantastic but at the same time we don't want this just to come around on International Women's Day, we want this to be around all the time and recognised all the time year in and year out."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: olympics, olympic games, Athletics, Australia

Max Sherry
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