What is really at stake here, aside from the persecution of a young athlete? Lurking beneath the salacious coverage is the sports world’s underlying ethic–women are inferior to men.
The notion that there is an enormous physical gulf between men and women’s athletic abilities is rarely questioned. No male athletes are tested to see if they are intersex because maleness is considered the physical gold standard against which women must be judged. Silly details like what happens when attempts are made at leveling the playing field between the sexes are ignored. For example, the 1988 Olympic record in the women’s 400-meter freestyle swim would have beaten all men’s times before the 1972 Olympics. In cross-country skiing, where endurance, strength and agility are key, the women’s Olympic record of the fifteen-kilometer race in 1994 would have beaten all men’s before 1992. In the thirty-kilometer race, the women’s Olympic time in 1992 would have beaten all men’s times in previous 30-kilometer races, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation.
And perhaps this is also the case, once or twice anyway, in Wolf’s book.
Still, the cognitive dissonance one experiences when even for a moment considering that communist thought might be the place from which human rights will spring is too much to endure. There are philosophies, nay organizations, much better suited to bring about the changes that Wolf allegedly champions.