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Hyperandrogenism / Caster Semenya & others

I watched the women's 800M final and think it's unfair that they have to compete with Semenya, who won gold.

Kenya's Margaret Wambui won bronze and I have to say she looks more like a bloke than Semenya. I have no idea if she has had to undergo any specific tests.

I felt for Lynsey Sharp and the other girls, as they do not appear to be competing on a level playing field.

I wonder if there are enough women athletes with extremely high testosterone levels, who could compete in their own event, so that everyone gets to compete on more equal terms.

It's extremely difficult, as whatever action the IAAF take, someone is likely to be disadvantaged.

I have great sympathy for ALL the athletes.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2101769-intersex-athlete-caster-semenya-rightly-free-to-run-at-rio/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/olympics/36691465
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Comments

  • There was a good debate on this on the BBC while they were waiting for the Mo Farah medal presentation.

    Very difficult issue and no easy solution which, as Michael Johnson said, wouldn't disadvantage someone.
  • There was a good debate on this on the BBC while they were waiting for the Mo Farah medal presentation.

    Very difficult issue and no easy solution which, as Michael Johnson said, wouldn't disadvantage someone.

    Yes, I saw it this morning.
  • It's a terribly hard decision to make, especially as there are suspicions about all 3 medalists. Curious that they were all in the same race.

    It's been suggested that Semenya is almost trying not to run too fast, imagine the headlines if she broke the (incredibly suspicious) world record last night?
  • That first article you link surely answers your question. The Olympics are a nationalistic, elitist sham and excluding an athlete on this basis makes no sense given what passes for fairness elsewhere.
  • Do the successful men also have more testosterone? I'm sure there's some link to do with testosterone levels exposed to in the womb as well.
  • I know it's the point. That's why you can't discriminate on these grounds.
  • Leuth said:

    I know it's the point. That's why you can't discriminate on these grounds.

    I do agree with you. it strikes me as strange the other athletes thinking it's unfair as they say they can't compete. Perhaps they should take some more drugs.
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  • Is it anymore of an advantage than Phelps having a bigger lung capacity, longer 'wingspan' and double jointed arms, over other swimmers?

    Read an interesting article the other day, I think in the New Scientist, talking about gene editting for sports - ignoring the gene aspect for now they talked about the disparity between Olympic disciplines.

    They used weight lifting and fighting (eg boxing & Taekwondo) as an example - in these sports the competitors are divided into weight categories, whereas in most of the other disciplines they are not. This is probably for historic reasons, but different body types are going to have advantages over others, Usain bolt is just so much bigger than most other sprinters, Phelps also has the advantages you mention.

    No matter how hard people work they are likely never going to be as good as Phelps/Bolt etc. so is this fair, should things be changed to make things more of a level playing field like in the aforementioned sports? Imagine someone in the mens 105kg+ competing against a 56kg.

    Has there ever been a case of someone having a sex change and then trying to compete as their new legal sex? Wouldn't this cause an issue - if Semenya having naturally higher testosterone levels causes such major issues for some, then surely if someone has a sex change that would be even harder for some to accept.

    Interesting topic!

    It'll be interesting to see how "gene-doping" goes over the next decade or so. The article I read made some good arguments for it, such as it making athletes much healthier in the long run. I'm not sure myself, but interesting times ahead.
  • Drug-taking is in the Olympic spirit too. Athletes could be sponsored by pharmaceutical companies. It'd be the honest way.
  • Yeah, I reckon the high jump favours athletes around 6 foot or taller.

    Heightest.

  • Is it anymore of an advantage than Phelps having a bigger lung capacity, longer 'wingspan' and double jointed arms, over other swimmers?

    Read an interesting article the other day, I think in the New Scientist, talking about gene editting for sports - ignoring the gene aspect for now they talked about the disparity between Olympic disciplines.

    They used weight lifting and fighting (eg boxing & Taekwondo) as an example - in these sports the competitors are divided into weight categories, whereas in most of the other disciplines they are not. This is probably for historic reasons, but different body types are going to have advantages over others, Usain bolt is just so much bigger than most other sprinters, Phelps also has the advantages you mention.

    No matter how hard people work they are likely never going to be as good as Phelps/Bolt etc. so is this fair, should things be changed to make things more of a level playing field like in the aforementioned sports? Imagine someone in the mens 105kg+ competing against a 56kg.

    Has there ever been a case of someone having a sex change and then trying to compete as their new legal sex? Wouldn't this cause an issue - if Semenya having naturally higher testosterone levels causes such major issues for some, then surely if someone has a sex change that would be even harder for some to accept.

    Interesting topic!

    It'll be interesting to see how "gene-doping" goes over the next decade or so. The article I read made some good arguments for it, such as it making athletes much healthier in the long run. I'm not sure myself, but interesting times ahead.
    I think there were some Soviet/communist "female" athletes who had sex changes. East Germany and Bulgaria ring a bell. Can't be bothered to google it.
  • McBobbin said:

    Is it anymore of an advantage than Phelps having a bigger lung capacity, longer 'wingspan' and double jointed arms, over other swimmers?

    Read an interesting article the other day, I think in the New Scientist, talking about gene editting for sports - ignoring the gene aspect for now they talked about the disparity between Olympic disciplines.

    They used weight lifting and fighting (eg boxing & Taekwondo) as an example - in these sports the competitors are divided into weight categories, whereas in most of the other disciplines they are not. This is probably for historic reasons, but different body types are going to have advantages over others, Usain bolt is just so much bigger than most other sprinters, Phelps also has the advantages you mention.

    No matter how hard people work they are likely never going to be as good as Phelps/Bolt etc. so is this fair, should things be changed to make things more of a level playing field like in the aforementioned sports? Imagine someone in the mens 105kg+ competing against a 56kg.

    Has there ever been a case of someone having a sex change and then trying to compete as their new legal sex? Wouldn't this cause an issue - if Semenya having naturally higher testosterone levels causes such major issues for some, then surely if someone has a sex change that would be even harder for some to accept.

    Interesting topic!

    It'll be interesting to see how "gene-doping" goes over the next decade or so. The article I read made some good arguments for it, such as it making athletes much healthier in the long run. I'm not sure myself, but interesting times ahead.
    I think there were some Soviet/communist "female" athletes who had sex changes. East Germany and Bulgaria ring a bell. Can't be bothered to google it.
    Certainly one or two female Soviet athletes who ended up having sex changes, after they had retired, due to the effect of drugs taken whilst competing.
  • Leuth said:

    That first article you link surely answers your question. The Olympics are a nationalistic, elitist sham and excluding an athlete on this basis makes no sense given what passes for fairness elsewhere.

    Do you think we should do away with The Olympics ?
  • Leuth said:

    That first article you link surely answers your question. The Olympics are a nationalistic, elitist sham and excluding an athlete on this basis makes no sense given what passes for fairness elsewhere.

    Do you think we should do away with The Olympics ?
    No. It's a nice way for niche sports to raise their profile. But we should definitely do away with pretending it has any importance beyond this.
  • I don't think there is a perfect solution here and if you do nothing it can be deemed to be unfair and if you do something it can deemed to be unfair - but I would specify a maximum tesosterone level women's competitions.
  • It's a terribly hard decision to make, especially as there are suspicions about all 3 medalists. Curious that they were all in the same race.

    It's been suggested that Semenya is almost trying not to run too fast, imagine the headlines if she broke the (incredibly suspicious) world record last night?

    Was gutted for poor Melissa Bishop the Canadian girl in 4th place, she gave a very raw interview on Canadian TV afterwards was very gracious but you could tell she was hurting - she missed out on bronze to Margaret Wambui
  • I don't think there is a perfect solution here and if you do nothing it can be deemed to be unfair and if you do something it can deemed to be unfair - but I would specify a maximum tesosterone level women's competitions.

    And if a woman had a natural level above your arbitrary maximum, she'd be banned from competing?
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  • Quite a few transgender sportswoman, most famous are probably Rennee Richards in Tennis, Fallon fox in mma, Mianne bagger in golf.
  • No, she would have to supress it medically. Not ideal but the best option of a bad lot.
  • No, she would have to supress it medically. Not ideal but the best option of a bad lot.

    So, she'd be prevented from competing until she'd taken performance-altering drugs?
  • It's a mess. Not sure that any solution will be fair.
  • edited August 2016
    I think I have made it clear that this is not an ideal situation but yes. If she wants to compete with women that is. If she wants to compete with men, she doesn't have to do anything. She has tesosterone levels that mean she should be able to compete with men after all.
  • Sssooooooooooo

    Would ya?
  • edited August 2016
    I would never say she was anything else but a woman - that would be disrespectful. I would impose a requirement to compete in women's competitions.
  • I think I have made it clear that this is not an ideal situation but yes. If she wants to compete with women that is. If she wants to compete with men, she doesn't have to do anything. She has tesosterone levels that mean she should be able to compete with men after all.

    So, let me get this clear. You'd have two types of events. One for women, some of whom you'd insist take drugs. And one for men and women.
  • Quite a few transgender sportswoman, most famous are probably Rennee Richards in Tennis, Fallon fox in mma, Mianne bagger in golf.

    Some of the most ridiculous names I've ever heard
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