Shrinking and Pinking “Chick” Fights

I learned a new term this month: “Chicked.”  Apparently that’s what you say in skiing when a woman beats a man on the slopes.

Here’s an excerpt from an article describing what it is to be chicked:

“That’s a verb used in ski racing – chicked – to chick someone,” explained Canadian alpine racer Larisa Yurkiw.

Yurkiw was the talk of the Swiss glacier when she beat a guy in training over the summer. The 24-year-old from Collingwood, Ont., who has high hopes for Sochi in 2014, won’t identify the humiliated racer, only to say he is not a Canadian, but a “fellow Commonwealther.”

“It was the biggest news of the day,” she recalled.

“It was just training and it didn’t matter,” Yurkiw said. “It didn’t count for anything, but it’s that prestige verb to be able to use.”

Of course, the reason this was in the news is because of Lindsey Vonn’s (failed) bid to race against men in a World Cup downhill.

While she failed this time it’s only a matter of time before she, or someone else, does get the clear to compete against men in a sanctioned race. Sure, some will be afraid of getting chicked– but the same was true in golf and tennis and auto racing and many other sports.  Sure, she might have to make some changes to her all-female races, like if racing the course advantages her over competitors.  But given the potential for publicity and the march of women’s athletics I suspect within the next quad or two we’ll see this.

Even MMA is getting in on the action.  MMA– currently considered one of the toughest and most hegemonically masculine sports– welcomed its first female pro fighter into the UFC earlier this month.  I’m sure they are happy that fighter Ronda Rousey is attractive and photo/telegenic.  Notice that the link is to a story on TMZ about Rousey, so clearly she is already crossing over into mainstream media.  The International Ski Federation should take note that some people might like to see a man get “chicked.”

One place where chicking doesn’t happen is at Spelman College, an all-female historically black college. Like at all single sex institutions, women are the athletic stars on campus.  Well, at least they were.  Starting next academic year Spelman is eliminating its athletic program.  They won’t drop fitness– they actually plan to promote it for everyone on campus, targeting issues that impact black women’s health– but they will leave the NCAA.  This is the first school to voluntarily leave the NCAA in about a decade.  About 40 women who planned to attend Spelman for athletics will no longer be able to compete, but they will still be students.

It’s an interesting take on how best to use funds to promote health and athletics for more women.  I wonder if other schools will follow suit? Chicks everyone can be sporty and smart.  And sometimes they do best the boys.

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