This is an incredible article, but it's beyond the upper limit for my normal internet reading. In fact, if I knew how long it was going in, I probably would not have started. I only made it to the end because of sunk cost. It is a really interesting piece and I was surprised to see Letsrun mentioned in the article. Rio is going to be a mess and the IOC/IAAF have themselves to blame. There is too much to sum up, but below are a few direct statements I found particularly interesting and which will share.
Editor's note: The following is all excerpts from the piece.
Caster Semenya is about as sure a gold medal bet as there is at this yearâ€™s Olympic Games. If I had one bet to make, and my life was at stake, Iâ€™d put in on her to win the 800m. This past weekend she just missed out on the Diamond League record, running 1:56.46, at a jog. A month ago, she won the 400m, 800m and 1500m at the SA champs, all on the same day. The 400m and 800m, 50 minutes apart, were run in 50.7s and 1:58, with a second lap faster than 60 seconds, suggesting that she could go much, much faster. I watched them in Stellenbosch and have never seen anything like it. The 400m was jogged until the last 100m, and could have been under 49 seconds, and the 800m could have been run in 1:55 if it was needed.
The division between men and women is clear. It is obviously significantly influenced by testosterone, and few physiological variables are as clearly (if imperfectly) separate like testosterone is. If that division is to be respected, as it should, then hyperandrogenic women should have some regulation in place.
would also like to relate a two-part epiphany that I had after my transition. In 2005, nine months after starting HRT, I was running 12% slower than I had run with male T levels; women run 10-12% slower than men over a wide range of distances. In 2006 I met another trans woman runner and the she had the same experience. I later discovered that, if aging is factored in, this 10-12% loss of speed is standard among trans women endurance athletes. The realization that one can take a male distance runner, make that runner hormonally female, and wind up with a female distance runner of the same relative capability was life changing for me.
While Caster Semenya has gotten most of the media attention, she is far from the only presumably intersex athlete to have competed at a very high level in athletics. In fact two of the three medalists in the 800 meter race at the recent indoor world championships are probably intersex. It is very possible that we could see an all intersex podium in the 800 in Rio, and I wouldnâ€™t be surprised to see as many as five intersex women in the eight-person final. There are potential intersex medalists in other running events too. The mutations that we are talking about are very rare, and these women are hugely over-represented.
The other undesirable scenario I foresee is that transgender women might also be allowed to compete with unaltered testosterone levels. Most trans women desperately want to lower their T levels, but a minority of trans women would be willing compete against other women with male levels of testosterone. I have seen other trans women argue that if intersex women can compete unaltered, then we should get to do the same thing. This would be a nightmare, not only for the worldâ€™s female athletes, but also for those trying to increase acceptance for trans people everywhere.