A Travesty of Athlete’s Rights

Injustice. It’s a word that’s been invoked a lot more often in recent years as systematic problems are beginning to be revealed and tackled. Injustice is something that’s particularly invoked in sports, but usually what people term as “injustice” is really just the result of a bad call or some other kind of error. But sports are not immune to actual injustice, some of which was carried out earlier this week.

South African track and field star Caster Semenya has been shrouded in controversy, perhaps unfairly, since arriving on the scene. Her body naturally produces more testosterone than the normal female body, which initially prompted questions about whether she was actually a woman (this was later confirmed as true).

But that wasn’t the only scrutiny she faced. Semenya had to deal with allegations that she was using PEDs, because it was somehow inconceivable that a human body, much less a female body, could produce elevated levels of testosterone by itself. Meanwhile, when Michael Phelps’ body was discovered to only produce half the lactic acid of a normal person, it was readily accepted without question.

Semenya wasn’t given the same treatment however, and this week lost her appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and will have to take medicine to reduce the testosterone production in her body in she wants to continue competing.

Now, THIS is a serious injustice. We glorify athletes who have evolutionary advantages in terms their bodies, yet when it comes to a woman producing a greater than normal amount of the male hormone, testosterone, it’s treated as an unfair advantage. Honestly, this is ridiculous. If her competitors can’t keep up with her, they need to train harder. Unless she’s actually taking PEDs, which has been disproven, then nothing should be taken away from her. No one knows what messing with her hormonal balances would do to her or to her athletic prowess. But Caster Semenya has defiantly stated that she won’t take the medicine, which might signal the end of her career.

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