Friday Finds – 12th August

Friday Finds is a regular feature in which I collate and share interesting articles and posts on running/health/fitness which I’ve read recently. Some might be inspiring, some might be scientific, some might provoke debate. All are things I’ve found in some way thought-provoking.

I don’t know about you, but I most definitely have Olympic fever. If there was an “endurance viewing” event or “channel changing time trial” I think I could be a serious contender! I’ve spent the past week glued to swimming, diving, gymnastics and, at one point, a particularly hairy-looking canoe slalom. I’m fast becoming an armchair expert, and at last the track and field athletics have started – my favourite part! We’ve already seen some phenomenal performances, indeed I’m writing this having just watched Alma Ayana smash the women’s 10,000m world record, running faster than the legendary Emil Zatopek, so who knows what else is still to come.

And most of the reading I’ve done this week has been on the topic of “the greatest show on earth”. Unfortunately it began with a number of articles taking issue with some of the reporting on female competitors. Here in the UK several of the main TV presenters are female, so we do get a pretty balanced view, but that’s not always necessarily true everywhere. Some US media outlets have come under fire for their reporting on female victories by describing them in the context of their husbands or male coaches. My favourite comments on this came in The Telegraph, which rounded up some of the issues so far and set them alongside the current situation in women’s sport, and The Guardian, which offered some helpful suggestions for reporting on women’s events.

Articles like these have really drawn my attention not just to the number of phenomenal female performances, but to the number of truly inspirational women who are competing this year. We’ve seen Kristin Armstrong winning gold in the cycling time trial the day before her 43rd birthday, Katherine Grainger winning her fifth Olympic medal at the age of 40 to become Britain’s most successful female Olympian, Jo Pavey being selected for a historic 5th Olympics at the age of 42 and Jessica Ennis-Hill looking to make history by not only defending her Olympic title, but defending it after having a baby. These are the kinds of women who should be our role models. These are the women who should be inspiring women and girls to get active and to challenge themselves, as they clearly have the writer of this article:

But the Olympics also provides lots of other food for thought. We are watching world class athletes striving to go faster, higher, stronger, and we inevitably wonder how today’s athletes compare to those of the past. Is it just advances in equipment that make the difference, or is there something else? The following article from Business Insider examines just that:

We also like to think about how present day athletes might perform against others from different disciplines. Usually, this takes the form of pitting the fastest man in the world against an assortment of others who are the best in their field. Thoughts on how Usain Bolt would stack up against his friend Mo Farah would split the room in a pub conversation, so let’s see how the experts see such match-ups:

And finally, if you’ve been sofa surfing and yelling at the tv during the coverage for the past week (“well they clearly over-rotated in that dive and they just weren’t in sync!”) then perhaps you might recognise yourself in some of these tweets gathered together by Buzzfeed:

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

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