Friday, February 26, 2010

Gender Based Athletics Funding

With our Canadian women proudly winning a disproportionate number of our Olympic medals, I am beginning to see printed opinion that funding should be shifted to female athletics to maximize our medal output. If women get-err done, then should they get more funding? There are even suggestions that female athletes are better at handling pressure than their male counterparts. I don't want to be rude, but I have witnessed far more emotional volatility on the side of the female athletes (and that's not counting Joannie Rochette, her's was completely justifiable emotional volatility after a job well done)

The more that I think about it, if you really want to increase enrollment in male non-hockey sports is to divert them from hockey and disperse them to sports that don't compensate as well. There may be 20,000 - 40,000 people who get paid (in money or scholarship) to play hockey in the world. This is a guess, but I would estimate that at least 15,000 Canadian born and raised males are earning an income or a scholarship from hockey world wide. If you totaled up the sum of all their income or scholarships, you are likely looking at over a billion dollars of net benefit to Canadian male athletes.

A disproportionate number of them are playing hockey, even at a low playing level because it still pays more than a 15th world ranking in alpine or cross country skiing. In fact if you took the sum of all Canadian hockey incomes and matched it against all European ski incomes, I bet you our hockey boys are out earning all the skiers at least 100 to 1 if not over 1000 to 1. And yet there are what, 60 ski medals for each hockey medal?

On the female hockey front, there are much more limited opportunities to earn income after college/university graduation. We can produce top quality women at the youth level, but there really is very little opportunity to earn income from hockey as an adult for women. They tried creating a women's pro league. It didn't really work out.

Should we be diverting young athletic males away from hockey and into skiing? They are far more likely to earn a financial or scholastic benefit from focusing on hockey than virtually any other Winter Olympic sport. Unless we can encourage our young hockey players to seriously take up a second or third sport, I'm not sure how you resolve this proportional inhibition to maximizing medal output at Winter Olympics.

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