Mixed-sex sports

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A mixed-sex table tennis team celebrating a point Mondial Ping - Mixed Doubles - Semifinals - 07.jpg
A mixed-sex table tennis team celebrating a point
A mixed-sex group of people playing frisbee Students playing frisbee 02 (17070420895).jpg
A mixed-sex group of people playing frisbee

Mixed-sex sports, also known as mixed-gender or coed sports, are sports where the participants are not of a single sex. This can take the form of individual or team sports involving people of different sexes. In organised sports settings, rules usually dictate the number of people required of each sex in a team (for example teams of one man and one woman). Such rules account for the sex differences in human physiology, with males being larger and stronger than females on average. In informal settings, mixed-sex sports typically involves groups of friends and/or family engaging in sport without regard to the sex of the participants.

Sport Forms of competitive activity, usually physical

Sport includes all forms of competitive physical activity or games which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoyment to participants, and in some cases, entertainment for spectators. Hundreds of sports exist, from those between single contestants, through to those with hundreds of simultaneous participants, either in teams or competing as individuals. In certain sports such as racing, many contestants may compete, simultaneously or consecutively, with one winner; in others, the contest is between two sides, each attempting to exceed the other. Some sports allow a "tie" or "draw", in which there is no single winner; others provide tie-breaking methods to ensure one winner and one loser. A number of contests may be arranged in a tournament producing a champion. Many sports leagues make an annual champion by arranging games in a regular sports season, followed in some cases by playoffs.

Sex either of two main divisions (either male or female) into which many organisms can be placed, according to reproductive function or organs

Organisms of many species are specialized into male and female varieties, each known as a sex. Sexual reproduction involves the combining and mixing of genetic traits: specialized cells known as gametes combine to form offspring that inherit traits from each parent. The gametes produced by an organism define its sex: males produce small gametes while females produce large gametes. Individual organisms which produce both male and female gametes are termed hermaphroditic. Gametes can be identical in form and function, but, in many cases, an asymmetry has evolved such that two different types of gametes (heterogametes) exist.

Sex differences in human physiology

Sex differences in human physiology are distinctions of physiological characteristics associated with either male or female humans. These can be of several types, including direct and indirect. Direct being the direct result of differences prescribed by the Y-chromosome, and indirect being a characteristic influenced indirectly by the Y-chromosome. Sexual dimorphism is a term for the phenotypic difference between males and females of the same species.


Sports which are mixed-sex as standard are typically ones where the differences between the sexes do not greatly affect the ability of the competitor, for example equestrian sports. Sports in which the sex of a competitor affects their ability to compete typically have single-sex divisions, with mixed-team variants comprising the mixed-sex element of the sport, for example mixed doubles tennis.

Mixed-sex sports have been encouraged as a way of boosting female sports participation and improving social harmony between the sexes. [1] Mixed-sex play and sports is common among young children, among whom differences are less pronounced.

Direct competition

It is uncommon in most organised sports to find individuals of different genders competing head-to-head at elite level, principally due to the differences between the sexes. In sports where these differences are less linked to performance, it is standard practice for men and women to compete in mixed-sex fields. These open-class sports prove accommodating to intersex athletes, who challenge the sex-defined rules of both single-sex sport and mixed-sex sports with defined male and female roles.

Intersex Innate variations in sex characteristics such that individuals differ from norms for male or female bodies

Intersex people are individuals born with any of several variations in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals that, according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, "do not fit the typical definitions for male or female bodies". Such variations may involve genital ambiguity, and combinations of chromosomal genotype and sexual phenotype other than XY-male and XX-female.

In equestrian sports, male and female riders compete against each other in eventing, dressage and show jumping disciplines. Female jockeys compete alongside male ones in horse racing, though the former constitute a minority of jockeys overall. Beyond the athletes, the horses used for racing are a mixed of male and female, with a roughly 60/40 split at the top level between colts and fillies. [2]

Eventing equestrian triathlon

Eventing is an equestrian event where a single horse and rider combine and compete against other combinations across the three disciplines of dressage, cross-country, and show jumping. This event has its roots in a comprehensive cavalry test that required mastery of several types of riding. The competition may be run as a one-day event (ODE), where all three events are completed in one day or a three-day event (3DE), which is more commonly now run over four days, with dressage on the first two days, followed by cross-country the next day and then show jumping in reverse order on the final day. Eventing was previously known as Combined Training, and the name persists in many smaller organizations. The term "Combined Training" is sometimes confused with the term "Combined Test", which refers to a combination of just two of the phases, most commonly dressage and show jumping.

Dressage highly skilled form of riding performed in exhibition and competition

Dressage is a highly skilled form of riding performed in exhibition and competition, as well as an "art" sometimes pursued solely for the sake of mastery. As an equestrian sport defined by the International Equestrian Federation, dressage is "the highest expression of horse training" where "horse and rider are expected to perform from memory a series of predetermined movements."

Show jumping part of a group of English riding equestrian events

Show jumping, also known as "stadium jumping", "open jumping", or simply "jumping", is a part of a group of English riding equestrian events that also includes dressage, eventing, hunters, and equitation. Jumping classes are commonly seen at horse shows throughout the world, including the Olympics. Sometimes shows are limited exclusively to jumpers, sometimes jumper classes are offered in conjunction with other English-style events, and sometimes show jumping is but one division of very large, all-breed competitions that include a very wide variety of disciplines. Jumping classes may be governed by various national horse show sanctioning organizations, such as the United States Equestrian Federation in the USA or the British Showjumping Association in Great Britain. International competitions are governed by the rules of the International Federation for Equestrian Sports.

In snooker, the professional tour is open to men and women, although only one woman has ever competed on the tour for a full year, although others have played in individual tournaments. There is a separate women only tour to encourage female participation in the sport.

Snooker Cue sport

Snooker is a cue sport which originated among British Army officers stationed in India in the later half of the 19th century. It is played on a rectangular table covered with a green cloth, or baize, with pockets at each of the four corners and in the middle of each long side. Using a cue and 21 coloured balls, players must strike the white ball to pot the remaining balls in the correct sequence, accumulating points for each pot. An individual game, or frame, is won by the player scoring the most points. A match is won when a player wins a predetermined number of frames.

Reanne Evans English snooker player

Reanne Evans is an English former professional snooker player who now competes as an amateur. She is a multiple WLBSA Ladies World Snooker Champion, a title she won a record ten successive times between 2005 and 2014, before losing to Ng On Yee in the semi finals in 2015. She played on the main professional snooker tour during the 2010–11 season, but she failed to win any matches and was unable to retain her place on the tour in subsequent seasons. In May 2013, she qualified for the 2013 Wuxi Classic as an amateur competitor, becoming the first woman ever to reach the final stages of a ranking snooker tournament. She became one of four players selected to play against local opponents in a wildcard round, where she lost 2–5 to Zhu Yinghui.

During an Ultimate game, teams of 7 players (4 men and 3 women, or 4 women and 3 men) play in direct competition with each other, and while most often people of the same gender mark each other, it is not uncommon to see match ups between people of different gender.

Mixed doubles or pairs

Pair figure skaters Lillehammer 2016 - Figure Skating Pairs Short Program - Alina Ustimkina and Nikita Volodin 6.jpg
Pair figure skaters

A common form of mixed-sex sports involves pairs with one male and one female team member.

Sports based on dancing often have male/female pairings, such as pair figure skating, ice dancing, ballroom dancing and synchronised swimming duets. In these sports the male and female participants physically work together to produce an artistic and athletic performance.

Mixed doubles involves two mixed-sex pairs competing against each other with all four competitors in open play. This is particularly prominent in racket sports, including tennis, table tennis, badminton, squash and racquetball.

Mixed pairs and mixed teams events are occasionally organised in contract bridge.

Pairs may also compete in turn-based games, where men and women take turns alternately. This is found in more strategy-based sports, including mixed doubles curling, mixed golf, mixed bowling and mixed team darts. [3] Separate male and female performances may also be combined to produce mixed team results in such sports as diving. Synchronised diving is also found in mixed-sex format. Mixed tag team matches are also found in professional wrestling, where wrestlers are not explicitly competing in a turn-based manner, but are usually obliged to only face their opponent of the same sex. [4] [5]

Mixed relay

A mixed relay swimming team receiving medals ShabasovNasretdinovaNikolaevKashinskaya-0087.jpg
A mixed relay swimming team receiving medals

In non-vehicular racing sports the physiological differences between the sexes often preclude head-to-head competition between people of different sexes at the elite level. As a result, mixed-sex events are most often held with a relay race format.

In running, a 4 × 400 meters mixed relay race was introduced at the 2017 IAAF World Relays, and will be added to the 2019 World Championships in Athletics and 2020 Summer Olympics. In addition, a 2 × 2 × 400 m and shuttle hurdles mixed relay races were introduced at the 2019 IAAF World Relays.

In cross-country running, a 4 × 2 km mixed relay race was added at the 2017 IAAF World Cross Country Championships.

In swimming, mixed relay races were introduced at the 2014 FINA World Swimming Championships (25 m) (4 × 50 m freestyle and medley) and the 2015 World Aquatics Championships (4 × 100 m freestyle and medley). The event will debut at the 2020 Summer Olympics (4 × 100 m medley).

In triathlon, the ITU Triathlon Mixed Relay World Championships mixed relay race has been held since 2009. Also, the triathlon at the Youth Olympic Games has a mixed relay race since 2010. As in standard triathlons, each triathlon competitor must do a segment of swimming, cycling and running.

In biathlon, a mixed relay race was first held at the Biathlon World Championships 2005 in Khanty-Mansiysk (4 × 6 km), and it was added to the 2014 Winter Olympics (4 × 6 km / 7.5 km).


The mixed division is a staple of Ultimate, and it is the only division that was showcased at both the 2013 World Games and the 2017 World Games.

Mixed team ball sports

Mixed-sex forms of ball sports involve set numbers of each sex per team, and sometimes pre-defined roles in the team which people of that gender can play. Examples include korfball, coed softball, quidditch, tag rugby and wheelchair rugby.


Mixed-sex sport has a long history at the Olympic Games, dating back to the 1900 Summer Olympics, which was the first in which women participated. Two women competed against men in the equestrian, [6] the croquet competition was mixed-sex, [7] while Hélène de Pourtalès was the sole female sailor and first mixed-sex team champion, being part of a gold medal-winning Swiss team. [8] The sole time Olympic motorboating was held in 1908, Sophia Gorham took part in a mixed British team. [9]

Mixed doubles tennis was first contested in 1900 but fell off the programme after 1924 before being reintroduced in 2012. [10] Mixed doubles badminton was introduced in 1996. [11]

Pair figure skating was present at the summer games in 1908 and 1920 before continuing as a founding event at the first Winter Olympic Games. [12] Ice dancing expanded the mixed figure skating programme in 1976. [13]

Sailing at the Summer Olympics was mostly mixed-sex up to 1988 but grew increasingly divided, with no mixed sailing events being held in 2012. [14] Similarly, shooting at the Summer Olympics continued on a mixed basis in several events from 1968 to 1992, before competitors were restricted by sex. [15]

There was an increased focus on mixed-sex competition at the start of the 21st century, with new introductions including mixed biathlon relay, team figure skating, and luge mixed team relay in 2014, then mixed doubles curling and mixed team alpine skiing in 2018. Mixed team shooting events and table tennis mixed doubles are set for inauguration at the 2020 Summer Olympics. [16] [17] Mixed-sex relay events are also slated for the 2020 athletics and swimming programmes. These changes were as a result of an initiative by the International Olympic Committee to increase the level of female participation towards parity with men, with the recasting of men's events as mixed-sex ones being part of that change. [18]

Related Research Articles

France at the 1912 Summer Olympics

France competed at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden. 119 competitors, 118 men and 1 woman, took part in 66 events in 13 sports.

China at the Olympics Peoples Republic of China and the Olympics

Originally having participated in Olympics as the delegation of the Republic of China (ROC) from 1924 to 1976, China competed at the Olympic Games under the name of the People's Republic of China (PRC) for the first time in 1952, at the Summer Games in Helsinki, Finland, although they only arrived in time to participate in one event. That year, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) allowed both the PRC and the Republic of China to compete, although the latter withdrew in protest. Due to the dispute over the political status of China, the PRC did not participate in the Olympics again until the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, United States. Their first appearance at the Summer Olympic Games after 1952 was the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, United States.

ITU World Triathlon Series world championship series in the sport of triathlon

The ITU World Triathlon Series is the International Triathlon Union's annual series of triathlon events used to crown an annual world champion. There are multiple rounds of competitions culminating in a Grand Final race. Athletes compete head-to-head for points in these races that will determine the overall ITU world champion. The elite championship races are held over two distances the standard and the sprint distance.

2019 Pan American Games 18th edition of the Pan American Games

The 2019 Pan American Games, officially the XVIII Pan American Games and commonly known as the Lima 2019 Pan-Am Games, are an upcoming multi-sport event governed by the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO), to be held in Lima, Peru from July 26 to August 11, 2019, with preliminary rounds in certain events beginning on July 24, 2019.

Brazil at the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics

Brazil' participated in the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics in Singapore.

The ITU Triathlon Mixed Relay World Championships, is an annual team triathlon competition organized by the International Triathlon Union (ITU). The competition is completed in teams of four, two men and two women, with each member doing a super-sprint distance triathlon.

South Korea at the 2018 Winter Olympics

South Korea competed at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, from 9 to 25 February 2018, as the host nation. It was represented by 122 competitors in all 15 disciplines.

Table tennis at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo will feature 172 table tennis players competing in both the singles and team events, as well as a new mixed doubles event. Table tennis had appeared at the Summer Olympics on eight previous occasions beginning with the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.

The tennis tournament at the 2020 Summer Olympics will feature 172 players in five events: singles and doubles for both men and women and the return of the mixed doubles for the third consecutive time.

The triathlon competitions at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo will feature fifty-five athletes competing in each of the men's and women's events. It will also add the new mixed team relay event.

Mixed-NOCs at the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics

Teams made up of athletes representing different National Olympic Committees (NOCs), called mixed-NOCs teams, participated in the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics. These teams participated in either events composed entirely of mixed-NOCs teams, or in events which saw the participation of mixed-NOCs teams and non-mixed-NOCs teams. When a mixed-NOCs team won a medal, the Olympic flag was raised rather than a national flag; if a mixed-NOCs team won gold, the Olympic anthem would be played instead of national anthems. A total of 17 events with Mixed NOCs were held.

Wheelchair tennis at the 2016 Summer Paralympics

Wheelchair tennis events at the 2016 Summer Paralympics were held between 8–16 September at Olympic Tennis Centre, Rio. This was the seventh full Paralympic wheelchair tennis competition since the event was introduced in 1992, having been a demonstration event in 1988.

Participation of women in the Olympics

The rate of participation of women in the Olympics has been increasing since their first participation in 1900. Some sports are uniquely for women, others are contested by both sexes, while some older sports remain for men only. Studies of media coverage of the Olympics consistently show differences in the ways in which women and men are described and the ways in which their performances are discussed. The representation of women on the International Olympic Committee has run well behind the rate of female participation, and it continues to miss its target of a 20% minimum presence of women on their committee.

This article details the qualifying phase for table tennis at the 2020 Summer Olympics. The competition at these Games will comprise a total of 172 table tennis players coming from their respective NOCs; each may enter up to six athletes, two male and two female athletes in singles events, up to one men's and one women's team in team events, and up to one pair in mixed doubles.

Qualification for tennis at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan was determined primarily by the rankings maintained by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and the Women's Tennis Association (WTA).

This article details the qualifying phase for triathlon at the 2020 Summer Olympics. The competition at these Games will comprise a total of 110 athletes coming from their respective NOCs; each has been allowed to enter a maximum of three. All athletes must undergo a qualifying process to earn a spot for the Games through the Continental Qualification Events, the World Qualification Event, and then the Olympic Qualification List that begin on May 11, 2018 and then conclude two years later on the same date.

Triathlon competitions at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru are scheduled to be held between July 27th and 29th, 2019 at Agua Dulce.

Archery competitions at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru are scheduled to be held between August 6th and 11th, 2019 at the Archery field in the Villa María del Triunfo cluster.

Roller sports competitions at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru are scheduled to be held at the Polideportivo 3 (artistic), Pista de skateboarding (skateboarding) and Pista de Patinaje.


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