The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

Mixed-gender events

Student athletes share their thoughts on the increase in mixed-gender events in Olympic sports
Daphne Huang

This year, the 2024 Summer Paris Olympics and Paralympics were able to achieve an equal number of male and female participants for the first time in history and the 2024 Gangwon Winter Youth Olympics were able to achieve an equal number of events for each gender. As the games arrive into a new era where inclusivity reaches new heights, mixed-gender events have been introduced to far more competitions, with Paris incorporating a new skeet mixed team event in shooting and three new mixed events in sailing, and Gangwon including a new freestyle skiing mixed team, a nordic combined mixed team, a snowboard cross mixed team and a mixed relay in cross country skiing.

However, sophomore and track athlete Vivek Chidurala believes that a mixed-gender event like the 4x100m medley relay in track and field that is held at the international level with two girls and two boys should not be implemented into high school track. Chidurala says runners with the best times would be asked to participate in more events which may lead to worse times due to fatigue. He brings attention to the fact that disparities between genders would make it challenging to maintain fair competition.

“I don’t think that mixed gender events should be added to track as a school sport because I compete to compare my athletic abilities against others of the same gender,” Chidurala said. “If it were added, I wouldn’t have an issue as long as they didn’t replace regular events because I don’t see myself competing in them.”

Senior and badminton player Anika Karandikar recalls her first time playing mixed doubles was at a home game against Cupertino High School. Badminton is the only sport at Monta Vista that includes an event where two people — one identifying as female and one as male — compete against another mixed team on the same court. Having played girl’s doubles up until that point, she says her first impression of playing mixed doubles was feeling nervous since the speed of the match in mixed doubles was much faster than what she was used to and there were larger crowds of onlookers on the sideline. However, after participating in the event for over a year now, Karandikar finds it comforting to have another player to support her.

Manas Kottakota

“I have neutral feelings towards mixed doubles — I don’t hate it but I also am not the biggest fan of it,” Karandikar said. “If you play mixed doubles, people actually pay attention to your game because there’s a guy there who makes the rallies more intense.”

In general, Karandikar feels that in mixed-gender sports — when women are pitted against men — men typically have physicality advantages such as height. She says that this can present a greater challenge in sports where height advantage plays an important role, such as badminton. However, after watching a national-level tennis match where a female player beat a male player, she began to believe that mixed-gender events are actually more equitable for some sports than others. 

“I feel like it wouldn’t work for sports like basketball or soccer, but it could work for doubles in tennis,” Karandikar said. “I’ve just never seen that implemented at the high school level.”

Junior and swimmer Yash Das agrees that these events need to be balanced, emphasizing that all teams participating in the event should have an equal number of individuals who identify as male and female. As a swimmer, he says that including mixed-gender events is a step forward toward encompassing a wider variety of individuals — however, he believes that there is no particular incentive for its inclusion in his sport specifically. Das points out that mixed relays have been in professional swimming before, such as in the 4x100m relay event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with teams of two men and two women, and says that such events can create new opportunities for athletes. 

“It just creates new competition,” Das said. “Say, for example, you have a boy who can swim breaststroke but there’s a girl who can swim it faster, it creates a faster total time for that relay and supports competition.”

If teams were to include both men and women, Das notes that it would draw more attention to the events because people following either the men’s or women’s teams would be interested in watching. Looking at high school level sports, Das believes that it’s a good place to start bringing combined gender events. 

“High school is about having a good time and building a team,” Das said. “I think especially in high school with MVHS that has a smaller swim team, including mixed-gender relays can foster a team with more connections.”

About the Contributors
Manas Kottakota, Sports Editor
Manas is currently a junior and sports editor for El Estoque. In his free time, he enjoys biking with his friends, traveling to new places with his family and cooking.
Daphne Huang, Sports Editor
Daphne Huang is currently a senior and a sports editor for El Estoque. When she manages to escape the paws of her attention-seeking husky, she can usually be found playing badminton, managing cat cafes or spending time with family and friends.
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