Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It's Official: She Can Compete

It took more than 10 months for a committee of the IAAF, international track and field’s governing body, to decide that Caster Semenya could compete in track and field events as a woman. As you may recall, Ms. Semenya’s gender was called into question after she completely dominated the 800-meter event in the world championships last August in Berlin (see this blog, Sept. 7, 2009.) A statement released yesterday by the IAFF on their Web site ( reads in full:

Caster Semenya May Compete. “The process initiated in 2009 in the case of Caster Semenya (RSA) has been completed. The IAFF accepts the panel of medical experts that she can compete with immediate effect. Please note that the medical details of the case remain confidential and the IAAF will make no further comment on the matter.” (IAFF statement)

Remember the old “Where’s the beef?” commercials for Wendy’s chain of restaurants? One might ask, “Where’s the proof?” Out of fairness to all athletes in sports, sports governing bodies should develop understandable policies, guidelines, or criteria for gender assignment in sports. But it won’t be easy (gender IS ambiguous, sometimes), so I’m betting the IAAF won’t even attempt it.

The Wendy’s commercial ended with the remark, “(I don’t think there’s anybody back there…)” IAAF, are you listening?

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