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Olympics Popular Among Women

Update Date: Jul 06, 2012 09:55 AM EDT

A new study finds women prefer the Olympic Games over sports with long seasons. According to researchers from the University of Tennessee and Pennsylvania University, women prefer condensed sporting events like the Olympics than sports with longer seasons, and that in selecting which particular Olympic sport to watch, women often select events that are seen as traditionally "feminine," like figure skating.

Marie Hardin from Pennsylvania University said this new research provides some insight into why the Olympics remain popular with women.

"It's not just about the types of sports that are featured, although that is certainly a big part of it,' Hardin said. "It's also about the way in which the Olympics is delivered: in bite-sized chunks that may require just a 10-minute commitment to see an exciting sporting event, during a time of day when women feel they can make that commitment."

The new study comes 40 years after the passing Title IX, the law prohibiting gender discrimination in federally funded education activities and since then, female athletes have risen to prominence and populate the sports landscape.

Researchers looked at 19 women between the ages of 26 and 43 over a 90-minute period and concluded that women preferred the condensed style of coverage because it is "easy to follow." Researchers also found that women preferred to watch sports other women participate in gymnastics, tennis, and figure skating, rather than sports like basketball, which they say "showcase athletic displays that challenge traditional gender roles."

Women who did not consider themselves frequent sports veiwers or those who did not have the time to watch sports said the "frequency of events during the Olympics, as well as the omnipresent discussion around it -from television to radio to the news-made it preferable" for them.

The results are published in Communication, Culture & Critique.

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