Intersex: Caster and World Championship Competition

Several of my classmates have already commented on this rare and sensitive subject known as intersex.  I honestly had not heard of this issue until this week, thanks in part to our reading and the Internet.  I researched YouTube and discovered several news articles / videos about this 18 year old from South Africa, Caster Semenya, who won a silver medal at the 2012 Olympics in London.

Semenya was under scrutiny after winning the 2009 World Championships and had been subject to gender testing.  Semenya was cleared to return to completion on 6 July 2010.  The International Association of Athletic Federation (IAAF) initiated this so-called gender test fearing Semenya had a rare condition thus giving Caster an unfair competitive advantage.  After this fiasco, Semenya was allowed to keep her medal as well as prize money.  The IAAF should have taken these steps before allowing Caster to compete on the world stage.

Caster should not be exposed to such criticism at this point in her life.  These medical exams, if they are even required, should have occurred during her younger years.  I presume this idea of intersex wasn’t an issue until she became a champion athlete meanwhile developing into a young adult.  Caster has won several medals but hasn’t crushed every record in the book.  If indeed she were a man, Caster would be setting world records at each competition.

I have only viewed a few photos of Caster and she indeed is built like a runner.  I am not a medical expert and cannot comment further on her sexuality, male or female.  At this point in her life, Caster should be viewed as a female regardless of how many chromosomes she has or doesn’t have.  Also, the IAAF could have handled this in a more professional manner by being discreet and keeping this very quiet.  Possibly checking all athletes via a medical examination by a qualified physician prior to any world level competition.


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