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The Female Athlete

Jack H. Wilmore

While females have competed successfully in athIetics for many years, t~e athletic arena ha.s traditionally been the domain of the male. During the early 1970s, female athletics underwent a dramatic revolution. Demands were made for equality in budget, facilities, equipment, coaching, and competitive opportunities to gain a status or position in the world of athletics comparable to that enjoyed by the male. While the demands for equal opportunity were generally attended to, with moderate to major reluctance, the demand by some females that traditionally all-male sports be integrated with females was met with heated discussion and debate. Out of this controversy repeatedly surfaced the questions: Are female athletes generally inferior to male athletes with regard to both physical and physiological characteristics? Were the sexes created equal relative to their potential athletic ability? These questions and their answers have important implications not only' for the athletic world, but also for many areas of employment in which physical performance characteristics are critical. Can females perform the duties of a fireman, a police patrolman, a commercial airline pilot, a telephone lineman, or similar occupations requiring unusual physical demands?

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