How would sports change if athletes of all genders were able to compete side by side? There is a long history of teams being separated by gender, but now some athletes are starting to call that tradition into question. On this episode of Aspen Insight, three Olympic athletes lay out why they think increasing opportunities for mixed gender competition could improve their sports and reframe the way our culture thinks about gender.
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“I think sport is a microcosm of what’s going on in the greater world, and it is more and more important that men and women grow their relationships and work in functional ways,” says Elana Meyers Taylor, a three-time Olympic medalist and the first woman in recent history to pilot a four-person bobsled in an international competition.
How have athletes’ experiences competing with teammates of the opposite gender made them better athletes? Meyers Taylor joins Joe Maloy, an Olympic triathlete and a world champion in the mixed relay, and Kristine Lilly, a former member of the US women’s national soccer team and two-time World Cup champion (as well as a three-time Olympic gold medalist). They spoke with the Aspen Institute Sports and Society Program’s Risa Isard about the idea that sports, at the professional and youth levels, should adopt a more gender-inclusive mentality.
Mixed-gender youth sports will be a topic discussed at the 2018 Project Play Summit hosted by the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program, which will take place in Washington, DC on October 16.
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