Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Gender Inequality and Women's Gymnastics – Redux

Click the image to enlarge it.

My first post about gender inequality went awry, but no matter! In writing the original post, I thought of an even more interesting question about gender inequality and women's gymnastics.

When it comes to women's gymnastics, does gender inequality pose a barrier to entry? Is there some kind of threshold for inequality – a point where it becomes increasingly more difficult for women to participate in major competitions?

 Let's discuss the graph above. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Do Height and Weight Matter in Women's Gymnastics?

At one point, some people believed that elite gymnastics was governed by two maxims:
  • The shorter, the better
  • The lighter, the better
These silly notions led to all sorts of problems in the sport. (You can read Little Girls in Pretty Boxes to get a glimpse into some of the problems that happened in the U.S.)

And really, those notions are silly. Within the small population of elite gymnasts, a gymnast's individual height and weight do not correlate with competition rankings.

Which event is the strongest predictor of all-around rankings?

Gymternet, my apologies. I'm on a myth busting tirade.

In my previous post, we looked at whether D-scores were strong predictors of final all-around rankings.

Now, I want to set that post aside, and I want to look at which event is the strongest predictor of final all-around rankings.

On the men's side, conventional wisdom would say that pommel horse is the "make it or break it" event.

And on the women's side, NBC would have us believe that balance beam is the "make it or break it" event.

Well, let's take a look and see how things played out at the 2014 World Championships… 

E-Scores vs. D-Scores: Which is the strongest predictor of all-around rank?

It's time to look at another controversial subject among gymnastics fans.

It goes something like this:

"The gymnast who performs the most difficulty will win the all-around competition."

In other words, gymnastics fans tend to believe that D-scores are stronger predictors of a gymnast's final AA rank than E-scores.

I was curious about this, so I did some sexy data analysis. I ran some multivariate regressions, and here's what I found…