Women's Olympic Medalist Battles the IAFF in Court - the Planet's Largest Sports Governing Body Insists He's a Dude

caster semenya

At the 2016 London Olympics, South African runner Caster Semenya beat the spandex off chicks in the women’s 800M run.

It should be noted, though, that Caster’s a man.


As it turns out, the International Association of Athletics Federations — the planet’s largest sports governing body — allows men to run with the girls…if they suppress their testosterone below a particular level.

Caster ain’t much for that.

Here’s a bit of backstory via a Daily Caller article from 2017:

In the past, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the world’s governing body for track and field, sought to preserve the male-female division by administering gynecological exams, chromosome tests, or hormone tests to ensure fair competition.

Before the Rio Olympics, women like Semenya whose functional levels of the hormone are higher than 10 nmols/L were barred from international competition. Between 2011 and 2015, the IAAF ruled that any woman with less than 10 nanomoles of testosterone per liter of blood could compete in women’s events. Sex testing was not required of any athletes at the Rio Olympics, however, meaning intersex track athletes could compete with their natural testosterone levels.

Prior to IAFF regulations, Semenya dominated the 800m race at the world championships in Berlin, but she failed to move beyond the semifinals in Beijing after testosterone limits were implemented. When the testosterone rule was suspended in 2015, she returned to form, winning the 400m, 800m, and 1500m races at the African Championships — all on the same day — and an olympic gold the following year.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport suspended the IAAF’s testosterone rule in 2014, citing a lack scientific evidence to suggest that women with high levels of the hormone have a significant competitive advantage. The IAAF argued that testosterone is the most important boost to athletic performance, but the court stated that unless it could prove an average performance gap of 10 to 12 percent between male and female runners, there was not sufficient “evidence about the degree of the advantage.”


So that’s what’s been goin’ on.

Back to the present:

In the Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport, the IAAF is arguing that Caster’s a dude.

Caster says he’s a girl — no two ways about it. And he doesn’t wanna have to suppress his testosterone.

The organization believes letting guys race gals courtesy of testosterone limitation is “an extremely progressive compromise.”

And: “There are some contexts where biology has to trump identity.”

Reportedly, Caster has a “5-alpha reductase deficiency,” which affects male sexual development.

But the IAFF said, essentially, “But he’s still a dude.” Or, “His body, like his name, is partly comprised of semen. = Dude”

Oh, and he has small gonads: It insisted that “[men with 5-ARD are] biologically indistinguishable…in all relevant aspects” from other male athletes. The only considerable difference is the “size and shape of their external genitals.”


Last month, the court ruled in favor of the IAFF. However, the ruling’s been suspended while it considers Caster’s appeal.

As for the world of sex-divided sports, it’s quite the open can of worms, letting the roosters in with the hens. I don’t see these battles going away any time soon.

Perhaps I’m wrong, but the contemporary headlines seem increasingly filled with people demanding recognition, accommodation, and special treatment. It strikes me as a societal ill — we’re living in the age of a social media-emboldened epidemic of narcissism.

What do you think?

As for Caster, should he be allowed to compete with women, if he suppresses his testosterone?

Meanwhile, there’s an entirely different spin on the Caster controversy, offered at Deadspin.com: “The Obsession With Caster Semenya’s Body Was Racist From The Very Beginning.”

There we go.



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