Monday, August 13, 2012

Turley on Olympic Rules

Jonathan Turley (George Washington and a fellow Northwestern grad) offers some thoughts on rule changes that the Olympics should implement, including the use of instant replay and establishing the same rules for men and women competing in the same sports. Worth a read.

The point about the same rules for men and women raises some interesting questions about when different rules should apply. Turley points to the rules for aborting a vault (women can do it, men can't) or for redoing a dive (men can, women can't). But this list is potentially endless--men do the decathlon while women do the heptathlon, women run a 100-m hurdle while men run 110-m hurdle, women use a smaller basketball. As with all equality issues, it all turns on there being a rational basis for the distinction, one not bound up in stereotypes and myths about women's athletic ability. On the other hand, there can be a visceral sense in which men and women playing the same sport are not playing the same game. I watched a lot of handball and the women's game felt very different from the men's game, so perhaps different rules make sense (although I don't believe there are different rules).