Do British women like the Olympics best?

Sports that stretch across a full season appeal to women less than the Olympics, new research suggests. Published in the journal Communication, Culture and Critique, the study revealed females would rather view a condensed, month-long sporting occasion than one that lasts the best part of a year.

Investigators from the University of Tennessee and Pennsylvania State University found ladies also tend to watch events - such as figure skating and gymnastics - that have more of a feminine emphasis.

Marie Hardin of Pennsylvania State University noted both the type of sport and the way in which it is delivered are important factors with regard to female viewership.

Ms Hardin stated the Olympics - which are being held this year in London between July 27th and August 12th - are presented "in bite-sized chunks that may require just a ten-minute commitment to see an exciting sporting event, during a time of day when women feel they can make that commitment".

In addition to the fast pace of such an event, female respondents also cited the increased patriotism these games bring as a contributory factor to their enjoyment.

But Dr Sandy Wolfson, a Chartered Psychologist from Northumbia University, thinks these findings may not hold in Britain. She says:

"I suspect this finding may not generalise to females in other countries. I know many women who follow sport year round.

"We’ve carried out studies showing a far greater level of football fan identification with club teams than the national team, even at the time an important event (European Championship or World Cup) is taking place.

"We haven’t noticed a gender difference, though admittedly our studies have only recruited avid fans rather than people in general."