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Power cycle: Could tracking periods help female athletes break records?

By Ida Emilie Steinmark

23 Oct 2022 · 7 min read

Editor's Note

Records are becoming more and more unbeatable as the limits of the human body are tested—fluctuating hormones in women could represent untapped potential as well as a threat to performance outcomes.

It should have been a show of British sporting dominance when Dina Asher-Smith and Daryll Neita made it to the 100-metre final of the European Championships in August. Then, unexpectedly, Asher-Smith pulled up and Neita was not quick enough for the gold, both because of cramps. Later, Asher-Smith revealed hers to be a symptom of her period and shared her frustration at its impact on her sport. If it were a men’s issue, she argued, it would have been fixed by now.

It is a feeling shared by many fellow athletes and coaches, including Chelsea FC’s manager, Emma Hayes. “Once a month for potentially up to around five days, many female players have an event that can cause significant distress and impact heavily on their performance,” she wrote in the Telegraph earlier this year. “Athletes deserve a greater understanding of the array of symptoms that can crop up.”

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