Could the international and national sport governing bodies, the international press, and, basically, anyone involved in the process surrounding Caster Semenya’s controversial world championship in the 800m run have screwed this up more? I don’t think so. Amid media leaks, secret “gender” tests, failure to follow their own rules, hysterical and sensationalistic news coverage and all around poor judgment, the fact remains that a young woman’s life has been turned upside down.
On Friday the IAAF announced that Caster will retain both her gold medal and her prize money, which is welcome news, but there is no word at all about whether or not this young woman will ever be allowed to compete again in women’s events. The IAAF also announced that the results of the “gender verification” tests performed on Caster Semenya will remain confidential. Never mind that reports of the results were all over the international press over a month ago with National Enquirer style headlines proclaiming her a “hermaphrodite.”
One good thing coming out of this mess is that the IOC is organizing an international “Gender Summit” in mid-January to review policies on “gender verification” and, I hope, come up with better policies for how such issues will be dealt with in the future. Let’s hope there are people at the table who can bring some science and sanity to this discussion. I fear the conversations are too late for Caster Semenya and that is the tragedy here.