Whether for practice or play, sport is the perfect observatory for the social con­

struction of gender. We don’t have to remind ourselves that competitive sport

has long been a bastion of masculinity. Olympic events for women date only to

the games of 1928, over 30 years after the founding of the modern Olympics by

Pierre de Coubertin. Many women’s specialties have only recently been intro­

duced: women’s 1,500 metres in 1972, basketball 1976, the marathon 1984,

judo 1992, pole vault 2000.