Athletes Changing Gender Roles
It's not uncommon for male and female athletes involved in sports that "threaten" the traditional roles of men and women to be stereotyped and made fun of for being less than what a man or woman should be. It is not deemed "normal" for a man to be a ballet dancer, synchronized swimmer or ice skater because those are traditionally "feminine" sports. The barriers to men becoming involved in traditionally female sports may be harder to overcome than those in front of women participating in traditionally male sports because there is a certain level of novelty when a woman tries to participate in a male sport. She is tolerated because she is so "cute" or because she won't be good at it anyway; for a man in a
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Once a man or woman becomes involved in a non-traditional sport the benefits of their involvement will most likely be more prominent when they get in the upper echelons of the sporting world and begin competing on a national and international level. By being involved in a non-traditional sport, there is a certain level of uniqueness that can be used in getting sponsors, publicity and support. An example of this type of benefit can be seen in the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics that recently ended; the women bobsleigh team got a lot of endorsements before the Olympics even began, that was in part because this was the first Olympics that women would be competing in the event and these women were being praised and supported because of their involvement in a man's sport. This is a huge benefit for these women—they were pioneers in the sport and were gaining recognition within the sport and within society, in part for being women. Not only that, but they also help the sport by opening it up and stirring up interest in young people as well as athletes that have been involved in other sports, but may excel in a non-traditional sport.
The sacrifices that are made and the hurdles that have to be overcome by an athlete involved in a