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Old 09-11-2009, 08:09 AM   #26
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Her father adamantly insists that this is not an old story -- that Castor has been tested several times, including two times in 2006. She has been teased, tested and challenged since she was a little girl. This just makes me sick to my stomach. Butch girls have been running and competing in sports since the dawn of mankind for goodness' sake. One bright light in all of this is how her countrymen have come out into the streets and rallied 'round to support her as is and call bulshit on this public flogging. It wasn't unfair when they let the other intersex competetors compete. In reality the kind of win she had is not something that has never happened before. It has happened in Men's running many times as well.
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Old 09-11-2009, 09:26 AM   #27
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It makes me so sad that people are still so threatened by people outside the prescribed notions of gender, and it seems, especially women.
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Old 09-11-2009, 10:34 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by mergirl View Post
The thing is though, different women have different levels of testosterone in their bodies than each other anyway and at different times of the month and at various points in their lives.
But the point is though that Semenya has male levels of testosterone which truly does give her an unfair advantage. According to the reports Semenya has testicles and no ovaries, so even if her gender identity is female, she still physically performs at a male level.
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Old 09-11-2009, 11:16 AM   #29
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Okay, there may be official reports by now that I haven't seen, but seriously: the article linked by Mossy DOES NOT have an official statement that Caster has testicles and no ovaries. News organizations have a nasty habit of using questions or bold statements in headlines that are entirely contradicted in the text below, because people only remember the question. In the Lady Gaga thread a while back, someone linked an article that basically said "no seriously, she's a woman" as proof that she was secretly a man.

Significantly higher amounts of testosterone WOULD give her a major advantage - this is why it's used for doping. Fluctuations within a woman's menstrual cycle or within the normal female range aren't that much of a change. However, since she's been tested before, this is all really ridiculous, and a clear attempt to shame her publically and stir up a great media story - gender ambiguity makes many people incredibly uncomfortable, so they flock to a story like this. Sucks for Caster - I'm impressed that she's standing up so well to all the scrutiny.
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Old 09-11-2009, 02:53 PM   #30
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I really hope she gets difinitive results one way or another. I feel for her. She's just a kid and the world is looking at her like she's wrong.
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Old 09-11-2009, 06:03 PM   #31
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From Yahoo news via reuters.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090911/...rica_semenya_3

"South African President Jacob Zuma decried the invasion of Semenya's privacy and what he called the violation of her rights, although neither he nor Stofile denied the report."

I wonder if this means they all knew?

"The Telegraph report said tests had found Semenya had no womb or ovaries, but that she had internal testes, the male sexual organs which produce testosterone, and her levels of the hormone were three times that of a 'normal' female."

With testosterone levels that high, Semenya without a doubt would have an unfair advantage competing.
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Old 09-11-2009, 06:14 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Jack Skellington View Post
From Yahoo news via reuters.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090911/...rica_semenya_3

"South African President Jacob Zuma decried the invasion of Semenya's privacy and what he called the violation of her rights, although neither he nor Stofile denied the report."

I wonder if this means they all knew?

"The Telegraph report said tests had found Semenya had no womb or ovaries, but that she had internal testes, the male sexual organs which produce testosterone, and her levels of the hormone were three times that of a 'normal' female."

With testosterone levels that high, Semenya without a doubt would have an unfair advantage competing.
Yeah, but problem is she didn't cheat and was naturally born that way. I'm not sure there are rules about hermaphroditic properties.
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Old 09-11-2009, 06:32 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Jack Skellington View Post
From Yahoo news via reuters.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090911/...rica_semenya_3

"South African President Jacob Zuma decried the invasion of Semenya's privacy and what he called the violation of her rights, although neither he nor Stofile denied the report."

I wonder if this means they all knew?

"The Telegraph report said tests had found Semenya had no womb or ovaries, but that she had internal testes, the male sexual organs which produce testosterone, and her levels of the hormone were three times that of a 'normal' female."

With testosterone levels that high, Semenya without a doubt would have an unfair advantage competing.
Or the reason they didn't deny the report could be they don't know, having not seen it. They have however maintained all along that Caster is female and has been from birth with a certificate to prove it. It seems unlikely to me that any gynocologist even in the most remote third world outpost can administer a physical exam on a sixteen year old and not notice the absence of a womb. I'm also skeptical of the theory that the whole South African government has deliberately perpetrated a scam. It seems to me they are anxious for the results of the tests just like everyone else is and would rather wait than feed this media monster.
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Old 09-12-2009, 09:31 AM   #34
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Okay, there may be official reports by now that I haven't seen, but seriously: the article linked by Mossy DOES NOT have an official statement that Caster has testicles and no ovaries. News organizations have a nasty habit of using questions or bold statements in headlines that are entirely contradicted in the text below, because people only remember the question. In the Lady Gaga thread a while back, someone linked an article that basically said "no seriously, she's a woman" as proof that she was secretly a man.

Significantly higher amounts of testosterone WOULD give her a major advantage - this is why it's used for doping. Fluctuations within a woman's menstrual cycle or within the normal female range aren't that much of a change. However, since she's been tested before, this is all really ridiculous, and a clear attempt to shame her publically and stir up a great media story - gender ambiguity makes many people incredibly uncomfortable, so they flock to a story like this. Sucks for Caster - I'm impressed that she's standing up so well to all the scrutiny.
The more I think on it I'm inclined to believe that the heinous crime Semenya is guilty of is brazen cold cocked cockiness. She's muscular, mannish looking, was suspect and has already garnered a reputation for being a force on the track. The moment she set foot in Berlin she was shunned and mistreated by everyone according to all accounts. The mistreatment coupled with her heightened levels of testosterone more than likely created a ripe atmosphere for scowling, chest beating and showiness designed to humble and humiliate all detractors as much as she's capable as an act of defiance and resolve. The photos of her pose once the race was won were telling. To be honest with you if I were a runner in this race who suspected there was some trickery going on I would be miffed and want to cut her down to size too. For her victory lap not a sound could be heard. No one applauded or cheered at all. Her parents mentioned in an interview that they raised her to be the type to not let what people say destroy her which I would imagine is a good tool in helping her stand in the face of all of this. Although... she was slated for another race this weekend and dropped out citing "illness" according to reports. Tolls get taken no matter how strong we are I'm afraid.
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Old 09-12-2009, 09:35 AM   #35
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I wonder if this level of negitive scrutiny would have occurred had she been white and from the UK or America....or maby i'm just paranoid.
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Old 09-12-2009, 10:05 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by mergirl View Post
I wonder if this level of negitive scrutiny would have occurred had she been white and from the UK or America....or maby i'm just paranoid.
You and a lot of other people. Honestly her features are not uncommon among black people at all. Full features have been the subject of course joking and parody dating back years. The attention to her features comes off as being highly ignorant and inflammatory prompting South Africa's president to proclaim, "Semenya is NOT European." It's hard to not take offense to all of this. I have a deep voice too and in some ways I'm still considered less feminine looking due to my features. I could go ON about that though so let me stop here.
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Last edited by LillyBBBW; 09-12-2009 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 09-12-2009, 10:06 AM   #37
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I wonder if this level of negitive scrutiny would have occurred had she been white and from the UK or America....or maby i'm just paranoid.
Erika Schinegger was a champion Austrian skier with the same condition. Gender testing for the 1968 Olympics revealed she, like Semenya, was intersexed and had internal male sexual organs. Erika then had surgery to become Erik and later fathered two children. Erik also voluntarily gave Erika's 1966 gold medal to the runner up who he was quoted as calling the "true winner."
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Old 09-12-2009, 10:49 AM   #38
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I forgot to add, there is a history in the Olympics and sports of controversy over the gender of female athletes. Some turned out to be intersexed like Erika Schinegger and like Conrad mentioned others were from the concerns of Germany and Russia doping their female athetes.

Heidi Krieger was German shot putter in the 80s who was, unbeknowed to her, being doped by her coaches with incredibly high levels of anabolic steroids under the guise of vitamin pills. The doses were so high it effectively caused her to go through a drug induced sex change. Heidi was so physically changed she felt she had no choice but to finish the sex change and become male.

A couple of quotes from Heidi now Andreas:

"For me the tragedy is still that I had no choice in determining my sexual identity, the drugs decided my fate,"

"The thing is, they killed Heidi."

Gender testing in sports is probably a necessary evil. It keeps women from having to competed against those that are physically at a male level and hopefully prevent another tragedy like Heidi.
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Old 09-12-2009, 11:03 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Jack Skellington View Post
I forgot to add, there is a history in the Olympics and sports of controversy over the gender of female athletes. Some turned out to be intersexed like Erika Schinegger and like Conrad mentioned others were from the concerns of Germany and Russia doping their female athetes.

Heidi Krieger was German shot putter in the 80s who was, unbeknowed to her, being doped by her coaches with incredibly high levels of anabolic steroids under the guise of vitamin pills. The doses were so high it effectively caused her to go through a drug induced sex change. Heidi was so physically changed she felt she had no choice but to finish the sex change and become male.

A couple of quotes from Heidi now Andreas:

"For me the tragedy is still that I had no choice in determining my sexual identity, the drugs decided my fate,"

"The thing is, they killed Heidi."

Gender testing in sports is probably a necessary evil. It keeps women from having to competed against those that are physically at a male level and hopefully prevent another tragedy like Heidi.
Hm....I had no idea that the issue of intersex athletes had come up that much in the past. You'd think that, after the first time, the Olympic committee would create some kind of regulation/classification to make things easier for everyone - some biological delineation of "male" and "female" competitors, and guidelines for dealing with individuals who cannot be placed in either category. Might prevent some embarassment and outrage....
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Old 09-13-2009, 03:04 AM   #40
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Erika Schinegger was a champion Austrian skier with the same condition. Gender testing for the 1968 Olympics revealed she, like Semenya, was intersexed and had internal male sexual organs. Erika then had surgery to become Erik and later fathered two children. Erik also voluntarily gave Erika's 1966 gold medal to the runner up who he was quoted as calling the "true winner."
See, i didn't realise that conclusive results had been provided yet for Caster. The news 10 hours ago said that they were still awaiting results and that the source that claimed she was a hermaphrodite was wrong. I'm with Melian, you would think if something like this happened 40 years ago, better testing which would cause least humiliation should really be in place.
Anyway, i don't think they have 'proved' she is a hermaphrodite yet... so this scrutiny is very strange and i believe is causing a fair amount of outrage in Africa. Oh, also, Caster herself is recieving psychiatric help at the moment. Poor show all round.
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Old 09-13-2009, 05:04 AM   #41
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See, i didn't realise that conclusive results had been provided yet for Caster. The news 10 hours ago said that they were still awaiting results and that the source that claimed she was a hermaphrodite was wrong. I'm with Melian, you would think if something like this happened 40 years ago, better testing which would cause least humiliation should really be in place.
Anyway, i don't think they have 'proved' she is a hermaphrodite yet... so this scrutiny is very strange and i believe is causing a fair amount of outrage in Africa. Oh, also, Caster herself is recieving psychiatric help at the moment. Poor show all round.
I'm glad that she is receiving help and support in this way. The next few weeks are going to be tough by any standard and she will have a hard road ahead of her regardless of what that test result is. I wish I could Rep the South African government for making sure Caster is taken care of. Guess you'll have to do mergirl.
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Old 09-13-2009, 05:27 AM   #42
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But the point is though that Semenya has male levels of testosterone which truly does give her an unfair advantage. According to the reports Semenya has testicles and no ovaries, so even if her gender identity is female, she still physically performs at a male level.
i have to agree.
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Old 09-13-2009, 04:02 PM   #43
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I too agree that it's unfair to female athletes to compete against people with male levels of T.. I also agree that the sports authorities have made a right pig's ear of the issue and have been hugely insensitive to Caster... Her sex (as opposed to her gender identity) has been doubted by observers for years, more so for her body's "male" appearance than her face (broad shoulders, straight torso, narrow hips.. contrast with say either of the Williams sisters or the late Flo Jo.. ).. And she has competed at a world class level before... Given previous issues in times past (e.g. Erik/a) surely Caster could and should have been tested *before* her first competition at this level?! ...Quietly & without damaging & stressful (to her) media furore.. And once tested- surely that should stand as certification for all further competitions? Rather than her being subject to repeated tests (which I understand has been the case)... I'd like to think that maybe there's a silver lining to this (and the Lady GaGa's maybe penis blahblah).. That maybe intersex people will get greater recognition.. As part of the natural diversity that is humanity - rather than a "problem" to be "fixed" by doctors... And perhaps the attitudes that lead to intersex babies routinely being surgically reassigned to one or other of the majority sexes might be re-examined... But I gotta say it doesn't look hopeful..
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Old 09-13-2009, 04:04 PM   #44
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I have deliberately stayed away from this discussion, but I can't keep quiet anymore. My heart really goes out to Caster, whether she is intersexed or not. She is a fantastic athlete, and deserves to keep her medal, period. This scrutiny is a bunch of sexist (and, like Lilly says, probably racist) bullshit. She should not be treated this way.

For those who think it would be unfair for an intersexed woman to compete with "normal" women, here's an idea--why not have athletic competition categories be based on performance and strength instead of sex? That would actually be more realistic than dividing by sex categories, and would not exclude talented athletes who fall outside the binary sex categories. Excluding intersex people from performing athletically because they can't fit easily into a gendered category is a lot like excluding fat people from theaters because they can't fit in the seats. There are a lot of commonalities between intersexed (and transsexual), disabled, and fat bodies and how they are pathologized, discriminated against, not accomodated, and made invisible.

For a perspective from an intersexed person who writes better than I do, read this commentary:

http://intersexroadshow.blogspot.com...rspective.html

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Old 09-13-2009, 06:57 PM   #45
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I have deliberately stayed away from this discussion, but I can't keep quiet anymore. My heart really goes out to Caster, whether she is intersexed or not. She is a fantastic athlete, and deserves to keep her medal, period. This scrutiny is a bunch of sexist (and, like Lilly says, probably racist) bullshit. She should not be treated this way.

For those who think it would be unfair for an intersexed woman to compete with "normal" women, here's an idea--why not have athletic competition categories be based on performance and strength instead of sex? That would actually be more realistic than dividing by sex categories, and would not exclude talented athletes who fall outside the binary sex categories. Excluding intersex people from performing athletically because they can't fit easily into a gendered category is a lot like excluding fat people from theaters because they can't fit in the seats. There are a lot of commonalities between intersexed (and transsexual), disabled, and fat bodies and how they are pathologized, discriminated against, not accomodated, and made invisible.

For a perspective from an intersexed person who writes better than I do, read this commentary:

http://intersexroadshow.blogspot.com...rspective.html

Uh, because no matter which way you cut it, men and women are vastly physiologically different. It would be incredibly unfair and stupidly unrealistic to expect women to perform to the same athletic level as men.

The reason there is no place for intersexed people is because that's also unrealistic. There's what, a less than 5% chance of this happening? There's absolutely no reason to make a category for it. If there WAS increased interest then there could be a completely different branch where they could compete with like-abled people, but as it is a woman with mass quantities of testosterone has an advantage over women and a disadvantage in competition with men. Period.
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Old 09-13-2009, 09:18 PM   #46
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The reason there is no place for intersexed people is because that's also unrealistic. There's what, a less than 5% chance of this happening? There's absolutely no reason to make a category for it. If there WAS increased interest then there could be a completely different branch where they could compete with like-abled people, but as it is a woman with mass quantities of testosterone has an advantage over women and a disadvantage in competition with men. Period.
No need for another category. Just let people of like abilities compete with each other. Is that really so radical? Most physiologically typical males would probably end up competing with each other, and likewise, most physiologically typical females would end up competing with each other, too. Some intersex people would compete with physiologically typical females, other with physiologcally typical males. Some males would compete with some females. People in general have a wide range of anatomies and physiologies, and there is a lot more in-between than anyone might think.

Now, I doubt that this is going to happen anytime soon. I'm just pointing out that there could be another (and I think fairer and more accurate) way to categorize athletes, by ability, rather than sex. Yeah, yeah, dream on, I know.

By the way, intersexed people do compete in sports, all the time. Most aren't undergoing the same kind of scrutiny that Caster is.
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Old 09-14-2009, 02:27 AM   #47
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.. but as it is a woman with mass quantities of testosterone has an advantage over women and a disadvantage in competition with men. Period.
They are saying she is cheating because she is 'not a woman'. I wonder if it turns out that she is a 'woman' but has larger quantities of testosterone than most women, then what?
At what point does a woman chemically stop being a woman?
The reason i say 'woman', is because this also opens up a whole can of worms as to what a 'woman' is.
Personally, in all cases i think if someone 'feels' they are a woman then they are, though i guess this cannnot cut the mustard in proffessional athletics.
Also i DO believe the coverage of this story IS both racist and sexist. The media yet again is trying to tell us what being a woman is. Blonde blue eyed with an hourglass shape perhaps, Soft spoken, with a high voice and yeilding non competetive nature? This situation goes beyond what is fair, it goes into what is right!
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Old 09-14-2009, 05:53 AM   #48
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@Geektastic - great link! Gets to the heart of the matter- i.e. that male/female is insufficient to describe the sexual variety of humans in reality.. One author offered up the idea of 5 anatomically sex defined categories m/f/herms/merms/ferms ... Altho that's still divisions of a spectrum.. At least better? than current situation where intersex people are defined out of (social) existence.. @Katorade - 5%? Source? If true thats more than enough to support an intersex athletic division.. BUT only assuming that society can be made to grow the fuck up and face the truth of the variety that is humanity with acceptance instead of fear&hatred.. A big ask I know..
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Old 09-14-2009, 07:41 AM   #49
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@Geektastic - great link! Gets to the heart of the matter- i.e. that male/female is insufficient to describe the sexual variety of humans in reality.. One author offered up the idea of 5 anatomically sex defined categories m/f/herms/merms/ferms ... Altho that's still divisions of a spectrum.. At least better? than current situation where intersex people are defined out of (social) existence.. @Katorade - 5%? Source? If true thats more than enough to support an intersex athletic division.. BUT only assuming that society can be made to grow the fuck up and face the truth of the variety that is humanity with acceptance instead of fear&hatred.. A big ask I know..

5% was me harboring a guess. After doing some digging, it's actually far less than a 1% chance. If you're talking specifically about women born with male gonads, it's a 1 in 83,000 chance. Sorry, I don't have the source at the moment as my SO looked it up, but I'm sure I can get it later.

It would have nothing to do with fear and hatred. Having intersexed sports would pretty much be the ruination of competitions as we know it. My SO said last night that "it would just promote sandbagging", and I'm inclined to agree, especially considering the way a lot of sports are set up. Not to mention it would open another Pandora's box of equality issues. If they just started with runners, the debate would inevitably move to other sports arenas.

Also, as a female athlete, I would be awfully down-trodden if I was forced to compete with men who performed on my level. You'd have the fastest woman in the world running along side a mediocre guy. That's not me being sexist, either. Men are built to out-perform women in basically all athletic competition. The fastest man in the world is almost a full second faster than the fastest woman. The strongest man in the world will always be ridiculously stronger than the strongest woman. You know what, though? I don't have a freaking problem with that. It's simply how we're built.

What I would rather see is female athletes getting some actual recognition in the world of sports. That would just be stripped even further if their was mixed-sex competition.
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Old 09-14-2009, 11:15 AM   #50
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They are saying she is cheating because she is 'not a woman'. I wonder if it turns out that she is a 'woman' but has larger quantities of testosterone than most women, then what?
At what point does a woman chemically stop being a woman?
The reason i say 'woman', is because this also opens up a whole can of worms as to what a 'woman' is.
Personally, in all cases i think if someone 'feels' they are a woman then they are, though i guess this cannnot cut the mustard in proffessional athletics.
Also i DO believe the coverage of this story IS both racist and sexist. The media yet again is trying to tell us what being a woman is.
I know that for levels of red blood cells in athletes in cycling, and I think levels of certain other naturally occuring substances that can boost performance in other sports they do have some sort of limit. Although I think in the cycling if you can prove that over a long period of time your blood cell level is that high you are allowed to compete (the issue there is blood doping--extracting some of your blood a month before the competition and re-injecting the plasma shortly before you compete). I'm sure that there are rules that could be adapted to testosterone.

I suspect that part of the problem is that hormones are naturally varying, between people and over time. That latter one makes it hard to say exactly what someone's level is, I'd expect.

And I agree about the coverage being racist and sexist, at least a lot of it.

As a largely off-topic aside, testosterone does all sorts of things to the body and mind. Testosterone levels have long been found to correlate with aggressiveness, now it seems they also correlate with risk taking behavior, at least according to this article in the economist:
http://www.economist.com/sciencetech...ry_id=14301951

ETA: "The International Association of Athletics Federations, which ordered the gender tests, refused to confirm or deny the reports. In a statement, the IAAF said it is reviewing the test results and will issue a final decision in November." So no official word for a couple of months....I hope that doesn't mean the gossip mills keep churning until then.
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