FEMALE BIATHLON PERFORMANCE IS GOVERNED BY DIFFERENT FACTORS TO THOSE OF MALES
Rundell, K. W., & Bacharach, D. W. (1995). Physiological characteristics and performance of top US biathletes. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 27, 1302-1310.
Top US biathletes (M = 11; F = 10) underwent a variety of laboratory tests, several of which were adapted for cross-country skiing. Athletes were defined according to national points ranking, skiing time, and shooting percentage.
Gender differences in performance predictors were located. Most variables were not significant for males, the authors proposing that group homogeneity was responsible for this surprising outcome. In females, both upper and lower body aerobic and anaerobic power measures were related to success. In males, the only variable related to biathlon performance was run time to exhaustion.
Implication. Factors that predict success in biathlon competitions are related to a variety of factors in females and fewer factors in males. When assessing the training status or potential for biathlon success in females, a much more extensive test battery should be used than that used for males.
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