Lab 008 - Fair Play
About the Episode
This lab was inspired by a request from one of A1 since day 1 listeners, Raheim White, and Caster Semenya’s loss in her case against the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). If you haven’t heard Lab 008, it’s ok - you can listen to the episode at the bottom of this page.
Understanding the Context
We have heard about the ability of sports to unite people, but what happens when sports separate folks? There has been plenty of coverage addressing the recently passed regulation of female bodies. It was not hard to identify those similar trends in the sporting world. So we decided to take a closer look.
We started by asking a couple of questions about Caster Semenya’s case? Why now? Was there a history of this type of regulation?
Timeline of Events
April 2011 - IAAF introduced eligibility rules for females with hyperandrogenism indicating their androgen levels must be below the male range OR if the levels are in the male range they must be resistant to androgens.
Dutee Chand contested these rules and beat the IAAF, and the organization removed the rules for the shorter distance races.
April 2018 - IAAF makes new rules with even lower androgen cutoff levels for the long distance races
Caster Semenya, an Olympic Gold Medalist and middle distance runner, brings a case against the IAAF to have these regulations overturned
May 2019 - Caster loses the case
What’s the big deal about hormones? What are androgens? Why is testosterone being used to determine eligibility to compete in female races?
Your endocrine system uses hormones (chemical messages) to control your body’s metabolism, growth, reproduction, and even your mood!
Chemically related sex hormones produced in male testes, female ovaries, and adrenal glands
Control male sex traits and development
Influence female sexual behavior
Testosterone is an androgen
The expert of this episode was Dr. Anthony Hackney, professor of exercise physiology and nutrition in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.