Why sport is so important for women

It is an experience of empowerment, of self-esteem, of liberation from stereotypes. Especially in those places in the world where patriarchy is fiercest. But in 'liberal' countries dishonest males want to invade and usurp women's sports
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Some time ago we published "Why allow men to compete with women?" Linda Blade's open letter to the Olympic Committee.

Linda has the experience of a life in athleticsbut also a great scientific knowledge on how bodies are built and how they move. With her doctorate in Kinesiology and her professional experience, she was a great activist for the protection of women's sports with numerous media appearances to his credit, including a Munk debate with Joanna Harper, Canadian trans-identified man and leading advocate of self-identification who influenced the Olympic Committee to admit men in women's sports.

Linda has recently published Unsporting: How Trans Activism and Science Denial are Destroying Sportbestseller in Canada despite the fact that it had no publicity in any Canadian media.

Linda fights for Canadian women athletes with the single-issue advocacy group caWsbar (Canadian Women's Sex-Based Rights).) and can be found on Twitter, @coachblade.

Linda Blade has had a long career, first as an athlete and then as a sports coach. We asked her to tell us a bit more about her work in educating girls and women about sport.

"For female athletes" says Blade "it is important to have an individual dimension. In moments of competition they are not daughters, sisters, mothers or wives, but athletes. And of course they deserve to be respected for their skill and dedication.

Sometimes, because they have different experiences from men, The encouragement needed is also different. For example, women are brought up to be modest and discreet, and female athletes tend to question their own physical abilitiesalthough they often learn new skills faster and better than males! They need a increased training in self-confidence and self-esteem. Sport becomes a way for them to learn to cope better with both winning and losing. So, when they win, they need support to know that they have earned the victory and that they their pride is legitimate. When they lose, they need to learn not to take it personally and to realise that they can use the experience to improve next time. Both winning and losing teach women how to develop strategies to handle intense physical pressure, how to perform well under great stress, and how to keep their emotions at a distance and not identify with them.

We also asked Linda how she got involved in the problem of men who say they 'feel like women' and have therefore been allowed to compete in women's sports.

Linda tells of having first encountered the absurdity of gender ideology in sport in 2018, as president of Athletics Alberta (governing body for athletics in the state of Alberta, Canada). She also served on a national committee on gender and politics. At that time, self-identification was not widely understood by the Canadian public, and Linda was shocked to hear that male athletes could compete as women.

"I told the other sports leaders at the table - they were all men: Are you serious?! Come on! You guys know this policy won't work! We all know the difference between males and females. We all know that men's world records far exceed those of women. Why are we talking about this?' To my shock and astonishment, instead of agreeing with me, they looked at their hands and shrugged their shoulders, telling me that we would probably have no choice but to accept this policy if sports groups wanted to continue to receive government funding. I was angry. Not only with the government, but also with these cowards who call themselves 'leaders'."

Naturally Linda's horror increased when she realised that this scandalous policy was endorsed by the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and many other countries and sports associations.

Linda is Canadian, but has lived and worked all over the world. We asked her to tell us about her international experiences.

Born in Bolivia, it was there as a child that Linda developed the passion for footballplaying in the fields and streets. As a teenager, the boys she had played against no longer wanted her on their team, so she searched in vain for a girls' football team. Fortunately, she was accepted by the athletics met in a nearby stadium, becoming Bolivian champion at 15. He won a scholarship to the United States, took further degrees and diplomas and became a lecturer and coach for the Worldwide Development Program of the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF). It is in this capacity, travelling the world, that she has become even more aware of the vital need for women to access their athletic potential.

In Guyana cut bamboo to teach pole vaulting and collected empty coconuts for throws. In Sri Lanka trained under armed guard as protection against civil insurrection. In Tehrantaught in the first IAAF women-only course, organised by the IAAF. so that participants could compete without the hijab.

During her time in Tehran, Linda met repeatedly with the modesty laws and patriarchal norms that oppressed womenfrom being forced to use the training spaces during the hottest hours of the day, to being restricted by the presence of male athletes during training. The women Linda has worked with have kept their love of athletics alive despite all adversity. Their generosity and dedication contrast sharply with the attitudes of too many people who in supposedly more liberal countries would willingly surrender what is not theirs in the service of the rights of dishonest males.

Tania Alessandrini

Translation by Maria Celeste


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