Posted at 9:00 AM Aug 19, 2009By Andrea Grimes
There are three weight classes. Flyweights, which are at around 106-112 pounds, lightweight at 123-132 pounds and middleweight, 152-165 pounds. Surely, you see where we're going with this. The Women's Rights blog at Change.org frames the dilemma thusly:
The problem with this structure lies not just in the number of women that will be excluded from participation because their weight ranges fall above or below the limitations, but also in the large gaps between each class. A woman weighing 140 pounds, for example, would be required to either gain 12 pounds or lose 8 in order to be able to participate in any of the designated weight classes. This presents a situation that could promote unhealthy eating or exercise habits among women who desire to participate in Olympic boxing, but whose natural body structures render them ineligible.One need not be a boxing expert to realize that, say, a 120 lb woman probably has an advantage if she loses eight pounds to be on the heavy end of the flyweight division rather than gaining a few pounds to be on the low end of lightweight.
I'm not sure if I'm quite ready to hop on the alarm-sounding bandwagon; we're talking about a loss or gain of 8, 10 pounds. Athletes are already in touch with their bodies and interested in keeping them in tippy-top shape. Starving oneself may make one lighter, but most any athlete could tell you that it's unlikely to make you much stronger. And in a sport where you need to be as strong as possible (again with the face-punching) I can't see too much rampant weight-hand-wringing. Should there be a heavyweight category? Absolutely. Should there be more continuity in the categories? Perhaps. Do we have to lose our shit about these athletes wasting away just yet? Nah.