FanDuel - WFBC

August 27, 2009

Renee Richards Questions Caster Semenya's Eligibility to Compete: If South African sprinter Caster Semenya's body produces an abnormal amount of male characteristics, she should not be allowed to compete against women, pioneer transsexual athlete Renee Richards told CBS Sports. "If she has this body that's fueled or developed under the influence of testosterone, she has a different body than the runner she's running against," Richards said. "They're going to have to put together some kind of a guideline. Some kind of a numbering system to say, 'This is a person who should be allowed to compete as a woman ... and this is a person who should unfortunately not be allowed to compete as a woman.'"

posted by rcade to olympics at 11:23 AM - 48 comments

"Someone may have to say to [Semenya], 'We know it's not your fault, you didn't put anything in yourself of your own doing -- it came by you naturally -- but even so, it may be that you can't compete against other women,'" Richards says. "That just may be the fact of life."

This makes me irrationally mad. Why do we need a guideline like this? Because she will win too much? So what if she wins and breaks records that won't be broken for ages. Isn't that what Bolt is doing now? Are they worried that people who have been ostracized their whole life might find something they are good at because of their differences? Do we really believe that there will no place in women's sports for "normal" women if we allow Semenya to compete?

posted by bperk at 11:45 AM on August 27

Are they worried that people who have been ostracized their whole life might find something they are good at because of their differences? Do we really believe that there will no place in women's sports for "normal" women if we allow Semenya to compete?

A-men.

posted by dfleming at 11:47 AM on August 27

This is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Why can't it be accepted that almost all great athletes are born with a genetic advantage. What's next disqualifying basketball players because they are genetically created taller than their competition? Disqualifying Bolt because he obviously has the genetic makeup to be faster than everybody else. It isn't normal to be 6'9" and weigh 300 lbs but we don't stop a football player from playing because he has an unfair genetic advantage.

Personally I am getting sick of over regulation in sports. Sport is exactly about testing ones physical superiority or inferiority against others. This woman (if she is in fact a woman) has every right to enjoy a natural genetic advantage just as if her advantage were longer legs.

Maybe at track meets of the future all athletes will be tested prior to the meet by a computer program which will calculate all their individual genetic advantages and disadvantages, chemical and hormonal levels, and other physical traits. Then the computer can calculate staggard starting lanes that completely even the race out. Every athlete will then run the race and because the program works so perfectly, finish dead even. No one has an advantage over anyone else. Everybody wins and gets a trophy. What a wonderful world.

posted by Atheist at 12:27 PM on August 27

Hilarious point, Athiest. I burst out laughing at my desk.

posted by Venicemenace at 12:29 PM on August 27

I was going to go on a tirade here, but instead, what Atheist said.

posted by tahoemoj at 01:00 PM on August 27

Everybody wins and gets a trophy. What a wonderful world

Sounds exactly what's being done to kids these days when they play sports. Regardless who wins or loses, everyone gets a trophy when it's all said & done(?). Whatever happened to be a gracious loser and appreciating a win? Seems like those days are long gone.

Great comment Atheist.

posted by BornIcon at 01:15 PM on August 27

It seems that you guys are missing the central issue: Whether or not she can be defined as a "woman/female" as defined/determined by a panel of multiple medical specialists utilizing numerous scientifically accepted standards/criteria.

If Castor possesses a greater degree of "male characteristics" (not just being "naturally genetically superior/advantaged" with regard to being a female athlete), then she clearly will not be a female competing against females. Case in point: Allison Felix is very, very fast -- as in 10.93, 21.88. 48.00 FAST -- but, she is without a shadow of a doubt a Female.

Case in point: Lisa Leslie is quite tall and an incredible athlete -- but she is definitely a Female.

Both Allison and Lisa are "naturally genetically superior/advantaged" -- but, they are both females competing against females -- which may not be the case for Castor Semenya.

Those in the IAAF and/or other authorized sports bodies are zeroing in on this central issue -- not the other peripheral points that have been made so far on this board.

Also, I want to note that I personally, at this juncture, believe young Castor is a Female -- that just happens to be a helluva runner. Matter of fact, somewhat brings to mind a person by the name of Maria Mutola -- herself one helluva 800 meter runner.

posted by naturalpro at 01:48 PM on August 27

Female sports had to deal with an issue like this eventually. The reality is that males and females fall on a continuum based on gender characteristics -- it's not a simple either/or situation. There has to be some form of testing that establishes when a female athlete possesses too many male characteristics to fairly compete against women.

I don't know where Semenya would fall under such testing. It is possible she's just an exceptionally gifted female athlete. But it's foolish to think we can just pretend this isn't a problem, or that it's unquestioningly fair for a female athlete with three times the normal female level of testosterone to compete against women.

posted by rcade at 02:04 PM on August 27

If I were an attorney, I would fly to South Africa and tell her about all the money she could get through slander and libel suits. What's happening to her is absolutely appalling!

posted by jjzucal at 02:09 PM on August 27

I really don't think anybody missed the point naturalpro, like I said"if she is in fact a woman" , regardless of how much testerone her body produces, if it is produced naturally, and she has not cheated ie ingested or injected banned substances, then she should be allowed to compete against other women.

I believe I recently saw a documentary of a Chinese basketball player who was almost 8 feet tall. He had some type of pituitary gland tumor which caused him to grow so tall. His stamina was bad and had some joint problems (not the smoking kind) he required brain surgery to remove the tumor otherwise his continued growth would endanger his life. Now that he has recovered, should he be banned from pursuing basketball since he has an unfair height advantage? An advantage that was caused by a hormonal imbalance as a result of a tumor?

At some point we must recognize that people are what they are and for what ever reason, genetic, hormonal, nutritional, enviromental, or cultural, they bring to athletic competition the cards they are dealt. As long as they are not cheating, just how much regulation do we really want. I agree that someone should check the plumbing to make sure it is original and not surgically altered, and ensure she is not violating doping or PED rules but beyond that, let her run.

posted by Atheist at 02:39 PM on August 27

rcade - I just read the article you linked in your post. There does seem to be a suspicious link as the coach of the South African team happens to be a doctor that was a coach of the East German team at one time. A coach who was known for chemically enhancing his female athletes. He also is accused of being the cause of one female athlete have to have a sex change operation a begin living her life as a man because of the massive amounts of testerone she was taking.

I still stand by my position if there is no cheating but the fact that this guy is involved does add an air of suspicion to the issue. Coincidence?

posted by Atheist at 02:48 PM on August 27

if that is the case Atheist, and this woman's level of testosterone is produced naturally, should the females that compete against her be allowed to dope up to the same level so that they have more of a level playing field? if everybody in baseball used steroids, then the better hitters would still have the better stats. therefore the field is level. the only problem is the records that were created. records that were set without the use of the drugs. as toward libel jjzucal, i haven't read one comment that slanders this woman. i see a lot of ideals being put forth and questions being asked, but no slander.

posted by hlfpaul at 03:09 PM on August 27

Everyone is being so careful to say "oh, gender is a spectrum, it's not either/or." It's fantastic that gender issues are being approached so sensitively, but let's be honest.

Caster Semenya:

1. Looks very much like a teenage boy.

2. Has set times that are consistent with a talented young male athlete.

3. Has improved at a rate consistent with a talented young male athlete, cutting almost five seconds in one year.

4. Has completely obliterated an experienced field of world-class female athletes after a very short time competing.

5. Has a coach, Ekkart Arbeit, with a history of doping in East Germany.

I agree that someone should check the plumbing to make sure it is original and not surgically altered, and ensure she is not violating doping or PED rules but beyond that, let her run.

If you're not going to verify gender in athletes, you might as well do away with women's sports.

posted by dusted at 03:09 PM on August 27

After reading the 2:39 post by Atheist, it's once again clear that the central issue is still being missed.

I understand the points you are trying to make -- but if Castor's body is "naturally" producing a degree/amount of testosterone or whatever other substances or male characteristics that are scientifically determined to be beyond the realm of a female -- then she is simply not a female.

Yes, "people are what they are, for what ever reason, genetic, hormonal, nutritional, environmental, or cultural" -- but if those people are appropriately determined by recognized/accepted science as being of not the same gender as their competitors -- then the sports sanctioning bodies must step in to halt the decidedly unfair competitive advantage.

You see, there is also an overriding issue of fairness to all competitors that must be considered -- and this is clearly why this entire issue came about.

Its understandable that this is not a simple/easy determination to be made by the appropriate authorities/scientists -- although we can be fairly sure that those making this determination are being closely scrutinized and their medical findings will be viewed under intense magnification.

Ultimately, this could be a very important test case for future similar issues of gender classification as it relates to competition in sport.

BTW, the point you make regarding the Chinese basketball player is a non-issue. Since the player is unquestionably a male, his pituitary/genetic condition is irrelevant to the central issue. He is a male competing against other males -- he just happens to be a genetically advantaged/superior male athlete with regard to his height.

posted by naturalpro at 03:46 PM on August 27

"Harrison Bergeron"...

posted by manics21 at 03:50 PM on August 27

She looka like..........

a man.

Seriously, have you ever seen her walk in high heels? She stumbles all over the place but man, is she fast!

On a related note, I feel that genetic testing should be performed on Bill Beelzichic. Because I still think he's like, a warlock or something. Maybe we should build a bridge out of him.

posted by THX-1138 at 03:51 PM on August 27

It's also worth remembering that the 800m world record for women is the longest standing of the standard IAAF competition events, dating back to 1983. (The 400/800m records were set by Eastern Bloc women during an era of institutionalised doping; the 100/200m belong to Flo-Jo, who was dogged by accusations of doping and left the track just as mandatory testing began.)

There's a reason why certain times haven't come close to being challenged in 20 years -- you can also point to the 1500/3000/10,000 records, all set by Chinese athletes in one week, at the 1993 Chinese National Games, during a time of extreme suspicion at their emergence from nowhere. (Six other athletes coached by Ma Junren were kicked out at Sydney in 2000.)

That's not to say that there's a long history of abject sexism from the IAAF towards what constituted a woman competitor, and I've said here before that it's been handled atrociously, through leaks and anonymous tip-offs. But dusted's got some good points -- not least because when everyone who follows athletics looks back at the bad old days of Eastern Bloc doping, that 800m record for women sticks out like a sore thumb, and anyone coming close to that time, with those associations, is going to come under suspicion.

posted by etagloh at 04:07 PM on August 27

Man or woman is determined by a simple chromosome. If she has female chromosomes, then she's a female and should not be punished by how her body produces various chemicals. If she has male chromosomes then she's a male and should not be allowed to compete with women. If for some reason she has both chromosomes, then she is a natural abnomally and should compete with the sex she has the majority of chromosomes for.

Other than that, there shouldn't be any tests she's required to take.

posted by stalnakerz at 04:13 PM on August 27

I don't see the difference. The Chinese basketball player has an unfair advantage over other male athletes. An advantage that was caused by a medical condition which produced an abnormal amount of human growth hormone. The female runner has an unfair advantage over other female athletes, an advantage that is caused by a medical condition or physical condition that is producing abnormal amounts of testosterone. This does not change her sex.

If her testosterone production is naturally occuring then there should be no issue. What exactly determines if she is a female. Hormone levels vary in all people and I don't believe hormone levels are what determine a persons gender. I thought is was chromesones or genetalia.

There are people that would argue that they have the wrong plumbing. They may have male genitalia but inside they feel they are women, or visa versa. These people sometimes have sex reassignment surgery. How does this relate to sports. Technically a person can change sexes I suppose but does anybody really buy the fact that a 6'4" 260 lb ex linebacker, named Frank can have an operation, take a bunch of female hormones, change his name to Francine, put on a dress and makeup and is now a woman. Would you date this woman and consider it normal? Even if you could overlook those huge hands. Should they be allowed to now compete in womans sports?

Also lets look at womens gymnastics. Why are female gymnasts so young? The answer is very simple. The younger they are the more like boys they are. Most of their careers end as they become women. The more estrogen they produce the less likely they are to be able to compete. Maybe womens gymnastics should be restricted to women. Allowing undeveloped pre pubescent little girls to compete clearly puts developed women at a disadvantage. To power to weight ratio required for gymnastics clearly gives the advantage to boy like pre teens.

The mere fact that in this controversy it is taking so long to determine whether this athlete is a male or female, clearly speaks that the governing bodies do not have a clear criteria of what makes a male or a female. To me I say look at the plumbing if it hasn't been surgically altered, and the athlete does not test positive for banned substances, the answer is easy.

posted by Atheist at 04:16 PM on August 27

If you're not going to verify gender in athletes, you might as well do away with women's sports.

This is not verifying. This is judging whether someone who presents as female is really female enough.

posted by bperk at 04:47 PM on August 27

Whether or not we would like to accept it or agree with it, those in the capacity of authority (sanctioning bodies and associated scientists, specialists and laboratories) will utilize the accepted standards to render their determination as to Castor Semenya's gender classification and right to compete against females.

Since the "accepted standards" (the "law' if you will) of medical/scientific classification of one's gender is now more than ever being observed by so many in the world, those who will be rendering their "decision/ruling" are no doubt taking their time and measuring every aspect of this "case".

Now, due to this controversy, perhaps we could end up having "new" law (accepted standards) created as it relates to determining the issue(s) before the "court" of jurisdiction (those empowered to decide this case).

We can all apply conjecture as to what we think, feel, "believe", want, feel is "right" or whatever -- but the bottom line will be the Central Issue that has been noted above in my two earlier posts.

People -- that's the law, unless however those empowered to decide elect to create new standards of determination to more effectively arrive at an equitable solution to this not so simple "just check the plumbing" issue.

posted by naturalpro at 05:01 PM on August 27

I don't see the difference.

The difference is that we've never restricted basketball by height, but we've restricted sports by gender forever.

posted by rcade at 05:04 PM on August 27

My point was if she is determined to be a woman she should not be excluded from the gender because she has more testosterone level than other women, regardless of if that results in some advantage.

I never implied she should be able to compete against women if she is a man. I am just say if she is a woman with a hormonal or genetic advantage it should not matter

posted by Atheist at 06:44 PM on August 27

Atheist -- its fine that you've clarified your point -- but again, that's just how you "feel" -- which won't have any effect upon how this "case" will ultimately be determined.

You see, Castor's plumbing may very well show "she" is a female, but because it may be determined that she naturally has an exceedingly high degree of "male characteristics" (i.e., testosterone, other hormones, genetic traits, etc. as determined by those in authority to do so), she will not be "classified" as female with the right to compete against females.

If this turns out to be the case, its certainly not Castor's fault (she seems quite nice and the outcry of support on her behalf is quite noble), buts its just the way it'll be.

Remember, the overriding issue is competitive fairness, and those in authority will make their most measured decision in the best interests to all competitors.

posted by naturalpro at 07:48 PM on August 27

doesnt anyone see the irony of Rene Richards commenting on this issue....?

posted by lindomotorsports at 09:42 PM on August 27

naturalpro - what if she is not so easily classified? It seems to me that she is challenging the normal perception and testing. I think it's terribly interesting. It doesn't appear to be a question of gender or sexual identity - it seems to be a case of "what the fuck? We've never seen this before."

Status quo? Your move.

(Yet it could be just a simple combination of crazy doping and Dupont using her town as a testing site for it's new brand of Industrial Hyper Waste. I don't know, I haven't got that memo.)

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:43 PM on August 27

Thank god they didn't have all this technology in the 1930's... or surely they would have labeled Babe Didrikson Zaharias as some kind of gender freak instead of the greatest woman athlete of the 20th century.

posted by drned at 11:06 PM on August 27

Hi Weedy, nice to see your comments.

I'm not so certain it's my next move, though it's certainly the move of those who will adjudicate this issue before them.

As to your comment that "We've never seen this before", well, that may be accurate with respect to the available science of a decade or two (or three) ago, which didn't allow for precise genetic testing and such.

However, there have been numerous "women" in the not so distant past (the Press Sisters of the USSR seem to come to mind) that surely possessed a dominance of "male characteristics" -- but the archaic science available at the time did not allow for an accurate assessment of their gender classification as it relates to athletic competition.

Also, back in 1984-5 I had occasion to meet the World Record Holder in the Women's 800 M -- yes, that "woman" Jarmila Kratochvlov. She was running at the old UCLA Pepsi Track & Field Meets in Los Angeles. Speaking with her standing no more than perhaps two feet from her she wasn't anything that resembled just a superior athletic female. This woman could have been running in the backfield for the UCLA Bruins! She was POWERFUL. Actually, so muscular that one might believe she was too muscle bound to run at such speeds for distances of 400 and 800 meters

Yes, I know there's a great likelihood she was seriously on "the juice", so her situation is not that as of Castor Semenya's at least we don't think just as yet but it's a bit hard to fathom that Jarmila did not inherently possess some major male characteristics to begin with. But, without proper testing protocols (drug or genetic testing) to even launch a case for investigation, she was off and running much faster than her competition.

However, the science of today may certainly provide those of testing authority to establish protocols (along with current protocols) to make a valid determination as to how to "classify" one's gender for purposes of athletic competition.

I'm as interested as anyone to see how this all pans out. ALSO, a quik note to "drned" regarding the great Babe Didrikson -- she was a fine physical specimen, not so terribly feminine -- but she wasn't even close to the "female" athletes under discussion. She would get blown away in a speed and power competition test of any design if she were alive today.

The Great Babe was phenomenally skilled at numerous sports -- but she was an absolutely skilled and talented (and mentally tough) sportswoman athlete. Her achievements weren't due to great physical/genetic dominance, but of a natural God given talent that she refined through many, many years of hard work and determination.

She was a rightly proud Texas girl who didn't like losing to anyone -- male or female.

posted by naturalpro at 12:00 AM on August 28

The way this WOMAN is being treated is despicable. (And she is a woman, regardless of chemistry.) It's absolutely horrendous. "You can't compete against women, but you're not a man, so you can't compete with them either."

Absolutely vile to condemn her.

And a transsexual person said that? Jesus, she should fucking know better.

posted by Drood at 12:18 AM on August 28

To "Drood":

Certainly, the manner in which young Castor has been "treated" by the media, the IAAF and other sports bodies and journalists has been quite less than exemplary -- although I wouldn't go quite so far as to say she has been "condemned'. Their handling of the whole situation began poorly and only got worse as they attempted to put a better spin on it.

However, the very valid issue/question of Castor being acceptable, or not, for athletic competition against women is one that clearly must be addressed.

Her competitors essentially cried out for it. She was different --- make that Super Different --- awfully fast in the span of less than one year as compared to her previous best times.

For sure, its a very tough situation -- especially for Castor Semenya, however, let's hope that a much better methodology for handling such issues as hers can be established so that a circumstance such as this won't even have the opportunity to get so negative and hurtful in the future.

posted by naturalpro at 12:55 AM on August 28

naturalpro: It can be addressed quite simply. "She is a woman. She has breasts and a working vagina and ovaries, ergo she's a woman. Now shut the fuck up whining."

Bperk had it right in the first comment.

I can't help thinking of the Brawn's earlier this year in F1. Protested because they were fast and had something which was legal, but the teams who DIDN'T have it deemed it illegal. The FIA (in quite possibly the only sensible decision they've ever made) basically told the teams to fuck off.

Same should be done for this. She's a woman. A woman with seemingly exceptional levels of certain hormones, but a woman nonetheless. Her fellow competitors think that's unfair? Then go find something else to do with your ability to move fast. Like working behind the counter at McDonalds.

posted by Drood at 01:52 AM on August 28

Drood, if you would choose to view the issue of Castor Semenya in manner that's no so gruff and simplistic, you might see that the larger overriding issue that has been taken up by the authorized Sports governing bodies is quite well founded.

This is much more than merely sour grapes by other competitors.

Its an issue of fundamental athletic fairness, and it must be addressed sooner or later.

Additionally, I've reread my previous posts, and I don't believe any objective observer would believe in any way that any comments written could be construed as "whining".

To the contrary, I believe they are balanced, objective, and discuss the issues as they have been presented before us.

Perhaps if you actually care to have a reasonable discussion on this board's topic of Castor Semenya, you could take a bit of time to view all of the previous posts.

If you just choose to have a closed opinion, talk tough and swear -- it'll be very hard to have the vast body of people respect you (here or anywhere) and pay any attention to your point of view.

Having been an All-Conference college football linebacker and sprinter (and other sports), and a successful businessman in competitive world, I know quite well a thing or two about toughness, as well as keeping my head about me in challenging and uncomfortable circumstances, or with people in which I may not agree.

Like all of us, you have a right to your opinion. However, most times whether it makes any difference or matters to anyone other than yourself depends on how you express it. Perhaps a little more living of life may show this to you, or perhaps not.

posted by naturalpro at 03:12 AM on August 28

(if) this woman's level of testosterone is produced naturally, should the females that compete against her be allowed to dope up to the same level so that they have more of a level playing field?

I can see why one would make this argument but the key word in this case is "naturally". If Semenya's body naturally produces the level of testosterone that's reported as opposed to another woman that has to take some sort of PED to reach that same level, the answer would be no.

If an athlete is naturally gifted and surpasses other athletes in the same sport and the other athlete has to take drugs in order to compete in the same level against a superior one, then the one that's taking drugs is that one cheating. A gift from God isn't cheating unless she was born a he, then that gift didn't come naturally afterall.

posted by BornIcon at 08:50 AM on August 28

Absolutely vile to condemn her. And a transsexual person said that? Jesus, she should fucking know better.

Show me where Renee Richards condemned her. She handled the issue sympathetically and thoughtfully, unlike the simplistic way you seem to be approaching it.

It can be addressed quite simply. "She is a woman. She has breasts and a working vagina and ovaries, ergo she's a woman. Now shut the fuck up whining."

Shut the fuck up whining? You need to chill out.

posted by rcade at 09:07 AM on August 28

A gift from God isn't cheating unless she was born a he, then that gift didn't come naturally afterall.

The last 20 or so posts all discuss and refute this point. There isn't a clear way to determine "born a he" vs. "born a she" by simply taking a look in someone's pants. If you want to be broad-minded and tolerant, it would help to not be so black and white about the criteria you use. There are plenty of people out there with one set of plumbing who feel (often for medically verifiable reasons) they belong on the other team. I don't care for how this story has been handled, but the distasteful press coverage doesn't obviate the need to get an answer.

posted by yerfatma at 09:09 AM on August 28

I have to agree with Drood, and, by extension: Was she born a girl? Was she raised as a girl? Did she develop as a girl?

Once she's cleared, there should be a press conference so she can flip everyone the bird! Payback's a bitch, man!

As for Dr. Richards' comment about Caster maybe not knowing about chromosomes and androgen sensitivity and other related issues we learned in high school, now Caster's not educated? What else can be claimed about her?

It seems like some want to create a third sex: male, female and intersex. Once can only imagine the political implications.

posted by jjzucal at 10:27 AM on August 28

Remember, the overriding issue is competitive fairness, and those in authority will make their most measured decision in the best interests to all competitors.

I respectfully disagree with you on this point. The overriding issue is basic human rights and the treatment of someone who already has been ostracized by society.

Look, I understand that competition and fairness are key cogs to sport, but in the process, this woman/man is being made to feel like more a freak than she would be before (how would anyone feel about being told you're not enough of a woman to be the woman you are?). I would assume that her success in sport has been the one area where she's been able to feel superior to other people (instead of inferior) and those within sport who wish to question this on the basis of her genetic makeup so that their precious competitive sports are untainted are missing the larger point to it all.

She's lived as a woman; she has largely the exterior parts of a woman. Inside, her genetic makeup is fairly hard to define, but that's the nature of being trans-gendered; things are not as cut and dry as sport make it out to be. If sport cannot deal with this issue in an ethical way that's fair, above all else, to those who are already socially disregarded, then it's got to enter the focus of human rights activists around the world.

posted by dfleming at 10:43 AM on August 28

It seems like this is such a novel controversy that Semenya stands to lose either way. Is there an already-established line on the sliding scale of human sex differentiation where if you fall to the right, you're male, if you fall to the left, you're female? If there is, will it be upheld by these governing bodies of sport, or will we more likely see that bar being set as a reaction to this wo(man?)'s speed relative to her female competition?

When the governing bodies of sport render judgment, it's almost always politicized, so wouldn't it stand to reason that in the "interests of competition" whatever panel of impartial scientists they hire will set the bar where their bread is buttered and make a man of Semenya no matter what?

posted by Hugh Janus at 10:48 AM on August 28

When the governing bodies of sport render judgment, it's almost always politicized, so wouldn't it stand to reason that in the "interests of competition" whatever panel of impartial scientists they hire will set the bar where their bread is buttered and make a man of Semenya no matter what?

I think that's an important point. In the interest of not giving an edge to someone, I think they'll err on the side of cautious rather than logic and deem her to be more man. Even a slight bit of testosterone and it's hard to accept that it's not an advantage, even if the overwhelming science on the other side of the ball says she's a woman.

posted by dfleming at 11:04 AM on August 28

naturalpro - FWIW nothing you have said in any way remotely resembled whining. That was an unfair and rather childish comment. Your points have been clearly and respectfully expressed. Even though it appears we dissagree somewhat, I alway appreciate a carefully articulated discussion even with someone that may have a different view.

Actaully all your points are valid. I think it is always difficult to create this fairness in sports. Although hard work and dedication makes an athlete as good as he or she can be, the fact is everyone has a different genetic disposition that can either give them an advantage or disadvantage in sports. Most people gravitate to sports that best suit their genetic predisposed body type. That is why 6' 200 lb women don't go out for gymnastics and pursue other sports, and 5'5" men aren't typically excelling at basketball. Also we have heard of some people have fast twitch explosive muscle type and others with longer more flexible muscle type.

My main point being the playing field can never be even. We need to stop the cheating and artificial enhancement of performance but embrace the natural occuring genetic lottery so to speak, that creates those super athletes that come along one in every million.

posted by Atheist at 11:47 AM on August 28

You're right that fairness is an extremely thorny subject for sports bodies to attempt to address. How many Olympic athletes have a completely level playing field, when you consider the different levels of financial support available in different countries?

posted by rcade at 12:07 PM on August 28

I just wanted to compliment naturalpro on his thoughtful and well-worded posts. I think he presents his viewpoints in a reasonable and even-handed manner, giving us all an excellent opportunity to see this issue from his standpoint.

It is in this regard that I must say you have no business here.

posted by THX-1138 at 01:32 PM on August 28

Unless we are not committed to disallowing men to compete within the women's events, we should then have three gender sports differentiations: men's; women's and he-she's.

(I'm sure someone will eventually suggest a "freak" gender differentiation too.)

posted by Plaintruth at 01:55 PM on August 28

I have not seen any evidence to show that this is truly a female athlete. All the photos you see of her/him looks like a male. Some one posted that she/he has breast. All men and women have breast.

posted by twgibsr at 02:48 PM on August 29

doesnt anyone see the irony of Rene Richards commenting on this issue....?

Do you mean Dr. Richard Raskind?

posted by Howard_T at 02:49 PM on August 29

I have not seen any evidence to show that this is truly a female athlete.

Buy her a drink and see what happens.

posted by rcade at 03:24 PM on August 29

All men and women have breast.

Put that on a t-shirt!

posted by Hugh Janus at 04:40 PM on August 29

I just wanted to compliment naturalpro on his thoughtful and well-worded posts. I think he presents his viewpoints in a reasonable and even-handed manner, giving us all an excellent opportunity to see this issue from his standpoint.

It is in this regard that I must say you have no business here.

THX, I just had to say how much I look forward to your comments. You are by far the funniest individual in SpoFi.

I have not seen any evidence to show that this is truly a female athlete.

Buy her a drink and see what happens.

Seems like rcade wants to give you a run for your money.

Great stuff!

posted by BornIcon at 03:26 PM on August 31

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