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Battle of the Sexes Heats Up Over Olympic Games

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Battle of the Sexes Heats Up Over Olympic Games

Rhythmic gymnastics the most likely battleground in New Zealand


Auckland, 4 August 2008 – Some of the toughest competitions during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games may be at home over the television remote control, according to a Visa survey which shows a divergence between men’s and women’s interests in Olympic sports.

Of the 4,556 people from the Asia Pacific region who were asked which Olympic sporting events most interested them, swimming, football and gymnastics were the clear overall winners. Men said they were also more interested in baseball and boxing than women, while women were more interested in watching gymnastics and swimming – particularly synchronized swimming.

Among the 501 New Zealand survey participants, rowing (64 percent), athletics/track and field (59 percent) and swimming (58 percent) were the top three sports that interested both sexes. Scratch the surface however, and differences between men and women soon become apparent.

It appears the biggest battle in New Zealand’s living rooms will be over rhythmic gymnastics, with a massive 45 percentage point difference between women’s interest (66 percent) and men’s interest (21 percent). Women were also much more interested in artistic gymnastics (72 percent), swimming (70 percent), diving (45 percent) and equestrian (49 percent), while for men, boxing (24 percent) and weightlifting (32 percent) got the thumbs up.

Iain Jamieson, Visa Country Manager for New Zealand, said: “The findings show that while men and women are interested in different events, there is a strong interest in the Olympic Games overall. New Zealanders love a winner, so it is not surprising that the top three sport that interest Kiwis correlate to some of our brightest medal hopes.”

It may be more than a battle of the sexes - the family lounge room may also see generational disparity over which sport to watch. According to the Visa survey findings, New Zealanders aged 45 and above are nearly four times as interested in sailing (46 percent) as those aged 18-24 (12 percent), while younger people are far more interested in synchronized swimming, volleyball and beach volleyball.

Jamieson continued: “Despite the differences, it is the passion for sport that is the unifying factor amid the diversity of views and interests of supporters. This passion is what helps create the colour and excitement at the Games, and is why the Olympic Games are such an important event in the global sporting calendar.”

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