A rise in peak performance age in female athletes

Abstract

It was reported in 1980s that ages at which peak performance was observed had remained remarkably stable in the past century, although absolute levels of athletic performance increased dramatically for the same time span. The emergence of older (masters) athletes in the past few decades has changed the demographics and age-spectrum of Olympic athletes. The primary aim of the present study was to determine whether the ages at which peak performance was observed had increased in the recent decades. The data spanning 114 years from the first Olympics (1898) to the most recent Olympics (2014) were collected using the publically available data. In the present study, ages at which Olympic medals (gold, silver, and bronze) were won were used as the indicators of peak performance age. Track and field, swimming, rowing, and ice skating events were analyzed. In men, peak performance age did not change significantly in most of the sporting events (except in 100 m sprint running). In contrast, peak performance ages in women have increased significantly since 1980s and consistently in all the athletic events examined. Interestingly, as women’s peak performance age increased, they became similar to men’s peak ages in many events. In the last 20–30 years, ages at which peak athletic performance is observed have increased in women but not in men.

 


Autor / Fonte:Ahmed R Elmenshawy, Daniel R Machin, Hirofumi Tanaka Age (2005-) 2015, 37 (3): 9795
Link: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11357-015-9795-8