Sunday, August 23, 2009

Questioning the sex of an athlete

source : flickr commons

Caster Semenya, a South African teenager, won gold in the 800 meter race at the world athletics championship last week. what was quite a remarkable feat - she finished a full 2.45 seconds ahead of the closest opponent- is quickly becoming overshadowed by the debate over her gender.

While this may seem incredulous to some (including Semenya's family and the South African government), there have been cases of female impersonation in athletics. according to the daily mail, the most famous case is German athlete Dora Ratjen, a high jumper who claimed he was forced by the Nazis to disguise himself as female in the Berlin Olympics. the first athlete to be caught through gender testing was Polish runner Ewa Klobukowska who won medals during the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

The ny times has an interesting piece on Caster Semenya and sex determination in sports here.

Books on women in sports: MUS 796.082
ooks on gender and sex: SOC 306.7

No comments:

Post a Comment