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Hannah Green’s mixed-gender golf breakthrough strengthens case for mixed-sex sports


In others, the divide is being closed via the introduction of mixed team or relay events, with both the Winter and Summer Olympics now a showcase for multi-sex events across a range of sports, including triathlon, aerials skiing and swimming.

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The nature of some of those events means tactics are just as important as performance, with the running order of the mixed medley relay in swimming, for example, crucial to the outcome. And while every team must feature two female and two male competitors, stars like Emma McKeon and American Caeleb Dressel often find themselves in direct competition.

Power sports like singles tennis make rudimentary male-versus-female matches typically difficult at the elite level, although there are a host of other sports where there is little to no discrepancy when it comes to performance.

Horse racing is a prime example, with star jockeys like Jamie Kah rising through the ranks to emerge as one of the best in the business. Equestrian eventing falls into a similar category and the list is expanding, even if many, if not most, are still divided into competitions for the different sexes.

In table tennis, an Olympic warm-up event in China saw the women’s team beat the men in its version of the Battle of the Sexes, while sports like sailing, curling and badminton and mixed doubles tennis regularly see men and women in direct rivalries.

The next challenge for major sports like golf is how far and fast integration can be taken. Perhaps one day the green jacket at Augusta will need to be tailored to fit a female Masters champion.

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