Athletics Weekly | Elephant in the Room - Athletics Weekly

Elephant in the Room

This topic contains 38 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of philipo philipo 1 year ago.

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  • #63608
    Profile photo of laps
    Laps
    Participant

    The IAAF research report on hyperandrogenism in Athletics was published yesterday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine and the IAAF are due to challenge the CAS ruling later this month.

    https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/03/caster-semenya-could-be-forced-to-undertake-hormone-therapy-for-future-olympics

    Hopefully in a few months time it will be all change in the Womens 800m, and the women will have their event back again.

    #63613
    Profile photo of dpickup
    dpickup
    Participant

    Until recently the existence of homo sapiens has relied upon a male & a female creating a family and the species surviving. Sport, including athletics, has recognised the difference between male and female.

    Now societies are sensitive to those ‘in the middle’ in all sorts of emerging enlightened ways.

    Eventually will it be enlightened of the IAAF to include events for 3 groups of homo sapiens?

    A final reflection: already males show their differences & females show their differences eg 45kg Keitany wouldn’t think to go into training to compete in the SP. and 120kg Crouser might cringe at the thought of doing a MAR.

    #63615
    Profile photo of laps
    Laps
    Participant

    Eventually will it be enlightened of the IAAF to include events for 3 groups of homo sapiens?

    It seems to me that it is difficult to predict what direction society will take. People have a natural tendency to expect things to continue as they are or at least keep moving in the same direction. If you had asked in the 1960s most would never have believed where we are at now. In time we may have continued in the current direction of travel, gone into reverse or chosen a different path entirely. Technological advances may make what we regard as fair competition in sport impossible.

    The human species does not lend itself to three convenient groups. Maybe sport will go truly open.

    #63624
    Profile photo of luckyspikes
    LuckySpikes
    Participant

    I hope this new study is enough to convince the CAS panel and also hope that this time the panel isn’t hell bent on political correctness at the expense of doing what’s right.

    Perhaps then we can get back to the terrific, close and unpredictable racing we had in the women’s 800 semis & final in the 2015 WCh. That was one of the best events of those championships.

    #63634
    Profile photo of stevek26
    SteveK26
    Participant

    I hope this new study is enough to convince the CAS panel and also hope that this time the panel isn’t hell bent on political correctness at the expense of doing what’s right.

    Perhaps then we can get back to the terrific, close and unpredictable racing we had in the women’s 800 semis & final in the 2015 WCh. That was one of the best events of those championships.

    I couldn’t agree more.
    A second chance to get this right, lets hope the IAAF evidence is compelling.

    #63638
    Profile photo of dpickup
    dpickup
    Participant

    Laps
    You say ‘The human species does not lend itself to three convenient groups. Maybe sport will go truly open.’

    So where do those ‘in the middle’ fit in?
    Where will for instance Caster Semenya (who has accummulated gold at 2 OLY & 2 World events, and could well add a 3rd World title in London’s ’17 event) fit in?

    What do you envisage exactly by suggesting the sport going ‘truly open’?

    It is interesting that Olympic Lifting and Power Lifting divide performers by body weight. No such divide is employed as such in athletics, swimming, cycling, speed skating …

    Might there be other way(s) athletics can divide its competititors?

    #63644
    Profile photo of laps
    Laps
    Participant

    Dpickup

    Well I am not sure who, if anyone, is in the middle in Athletics terms. Semenya appears to be close to the male end of the spectrum. Those you are perhaps thinking of as being in middle were provided with a chance to compete with testosterone levels limited (I believe) to the doping control limit(?), but the CAS decision temporarily blew that up. The sooner we get back to that uneasy compromise the better.

    I was just musing, that the way society is going you would end up not being able to make any distinctions between sexes in sport, so there would be no divisions i.e. competitions open to all.

    Some other form of arbitrary division might be employed as you suggest. Maybe Mo could slip into the flyweight division and win everything. ;-)

    #63645
    Profile photo of occasionalhope
    OccasionalHope
    Participant

    Interestingly, it clearly isn’t just competitors in the 800 who are currently benefitting from the current lack of restrictions.

    The BBC article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/athletics/40491036 cites “400m, 400m hurdles, 800m, hammer throw, and pole vault events in particular”.

    We probably shouldn’t speculate publicly as to individuals.

    #63649
    Profile photo of dpickup
    dpickup
    Participant

    Laps
    My ‘Middle’ refers to those athletes being the focus of the research in the recently issued report.

    You wonder ‘competitions open to all’

    The difference between the top men and the top women & even the’middle’ athletes is so vast. To ‘elimnate’ ‘the exceptional’ I’ve listed the 20th place athlete on the all-time list to reflect the difference.
    ——– M —— W —— gap
    100 — 9.86 —- 10.79 – 0.93s
    200 — 19.80 —- 21.87 – 2.07s
    400 — 44.10 —- 49.29 – 5.19s
    800 -1.42.69 — 1.55.69 – 13.00s
    1500 -3.29.50 — 3.56.29 – 26.79s
    5000 12.50.72 – 14.31.20 – 2m40.48s
    1000026.49.20 – 30.18.39 – 3m29.19s
    marat 2.04.45 — 2.19.52 – 15m7s
    st ch 8.03.57 — 9.13.25 – 1m9.28s
    400h – 47.66 —- 53.02 – 5.36s
    H J — 2.38 —– 2.03 – 35cm
    P V — 5.98 —– 4.77 – 1m21cm
    L J — 8.52 —– 7.20 – 1m32cm
    T J —17.78 —- 15.03 – 2m75cm
    20kW -1.18.06 — 1.25.59 – 27m53s
    50kW -3.38.08 — 4.39.28 – 1h1m20s
    4 x 100r38.20 —- 42.67 – 4.47s
    4x400r3.00.32 — 3.25.81 – 25.49s

    Interestingly body weight is seen as ‘significant’ in ‘lifting’ weights (& woman/man to woman/man in wrestling, boxing … and rowing even). However athletics doesn’t give ‘significance’ to ‘throwing’ weights. So as you say 65kg Mo might be up for a throwing event medal, with the 75kg, 90kg, over 100kg athletes elsewhere in different groups …

    #63666
    Profile photo of laps
    Laps
    Participant

    I don’t believe there is a middle in the sense that there is a convenient group who can separately and fairly compete with each other. There is a range of conditions and abnormalities. Joanna Harper has written articles on the difference in performance in transgender men and women distance athletes, including herself, before and after hormone therapy. I believe she reported performance differences of 12-13% in either direction. Which is also what your table shows as the difference between men and women distance athletes. The media reports of the IAAF research do not tell us how high the testosterone levels went so the percentages of performance advantage don’t reflect those that are possible. The researcher confirmed this with the words “imagine the magnitude of the advantage for female athletes with testosterone levels in the normal male range.” If what we are currently seeing in the womens 800m is male levels of testosterone fully available for use for athletic performance then you could argue that we are essentially seeing moderately talented ‘male’ athletes. Who knows?

    #63672
    Profile photo of dpickup
    dpickup
    Participant

    Laps
    I agree with you that we can’t conveniently have a ‘middle group’. But nevertheless there is a problem, and how will the IAAF, other sports, the IOC attend to it?
    Homo sapiens is a varied species one thinking of the full spectrum: from the biggest, tallest, heaviest macho males right thro to the most delicate, petite, gentle females; forgive me if you don’t totally like the adjectives I use.

    Can our sport, currently with 48 events, ‘fairly’ divide its provision to cope with that spectrum?

    #63676
    Profile photo of ladyloz
    Ladyloz
    Participant

    You can’t have open competition unless you pretty much want to eliminate women from elite athletics.

    There is a very good reason why nearly every sport has separate categories for M & W and why as such there has to be certain guidelines. I am not overly optimistic that CAS will overturn things though but I hope I’m wrong

    #63677
    Profile photo of laps
    Laps
    Participant

    Laps
    I agree with you that we can’t conveniently have a ‘middle group’. But nevertheless there is a problem, and how will the IAAF, other sports, the IOC attend to it?

    Perhaps there is a limit to which any sport can adapt to accommodate every individual.
    On the issue we are discussing there is a reasonable solution. The IAAF has it temporarily taken away.
    If CAS do not allow it back I think there are painful and long lasting consequences for women’s sport, and many individuals, which are currently on hold.

    #63730
    Profile photo of dpickup
    dpickup
    Participant

    ‘No easy answer to ‘intersex’ athletes dilemma’

    The article concludes ‘I have no idea what a fair solution is, and right now it seems no one else does either.’

    see
    https://www.rte.ie/sport/athletics/2017/0705/887909-no-easy-answer-to/

    #63734
    Profile photo of laps
    Laps
    Participant

    Well he says he doesn’t know what a fair solution is but the IAAF does, and we know that many others share their opinion. So disingenuous of him to put it that way. It isn’t a riddle, it isn’t a dilemma, it’s a nettle to be grasped.

    He does raise an important point with the 800m, if the status quo remains, there could be an exodus of non-intersex world class athletes from the event. Some will hang around hoping that circumstances will change, but others that have realistic aspirations of medals but for the intersex athletes have to move on. Then how long before the 1500m and 400m etc are similarly blighted? I pity the poor ladies that are always finishing behind the intersex athletes in the major championships and DLs. Unable in our culture to say anything. Trying to maintain a veneer of sportsmanship. But demotivated and trying not to explode.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by Profile photo of laps laps.
    #63739
    Profile photo of camerajuan
    camerajuan
    Participant

    Touching on the Semenya case, she’s a woman. She produces testosterone. She’s still a woman & at the woman end of the scale (regarding times). If she was at the man end of the scale, she’d be breaking 1:50 easily. She’s not though. She can’t do anything about it & supressing her genetics in order of fairness is a slippery slope.

    #63744
    Profile photo of laps
    Laps
    Participant

    Touching on the Semenya case, she’s a woman. She produces testosterone. She’s still a woman at the woman end of the scale (regarding times). If she was at the man end of the scale, she’d be breaking 1:50 easily. She’s not though. She can’t do anything about it supressing her genetics in order of fairness is a slippery slope.

    We don’t know what Semenya’s condition is. There are conditions where individuals have organs of both sexes. Because at birth they do not necessarily have external signs of maleness they are brought up as girls. At puberty the difference becomes very noticeable in secondary characteristics.

    The IAAF’s approach seems to be a very moderate and reasonable compromise to an issue which has had many inhumane consequences over the decades. It has evolved as a result of the Semenya case.

    It is a fallacy to believe that Semenya would be breaking 1.50 if producing male levels of testosterone. That assumes many things. An intersex athlete with male levels of testosterone might not be capable of breaking 2.00, or 2.30 even. It depends on how good they are. All you know is that whatever their athletic ability the testosterone is a big advantage.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by Profile photo of laps laps.
    #64021
    Profile photo of dthaw
    DTHAW
    Participant

    I could probably look this up myself, but maybe someone can save me the digging. Has Semenya been beaten by anyone, or Niyonsaba by anyone but Semenya, or Wambui by anyone but the aforementioned, since the CAS ruling came into force? I don’t think it’s happened in any race that I’ve watched.

    #64042
    Profile photo of luckyspikes
    LuckySpikes
    Participant

    I could probably look this up myself, but maybe someone can save me the digging. Has Semenya been beaten by anyone, or Niyonsaba by anyone but Semenya, or Wambui by anyone but the aforementioned, since the CAS ruling came into force? I don’t think it’s happened in any race that I’ve watched.

    No, it hasn’t happened.

    #64052
    Profile photo of stefan
    Stefan
    Participant

    I could probably look this up myself, but maybe someone can save me the digging. Has Semenya been beaten by anyone, or Niyonsaba by anyone but Semenya, or Wambui by anyone but the aforementioned, since the CAS ruling came into force? I don’t think it’s happened in any race that I’ve watched.

    Well, Ajee Wilson defeated Wambui twice at the World Indoors (including in the final) last year. And Selina Büchel defeated Wambui in the heats at the Olympics last year. Of the three intersex athletes, Wambui is the one who’s beatable IMO.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by Profile photo of stefan stefan.
    #64063
    Profile photo of occasionalhope
    OccasionalHope
    Participant

    I agree. Of course Wilson now has a drugs cloud over her.

    #64064
    Profile photo of stevek26
    SteveK26
    Participant

    I agree. Of course Wilson now has a drugs cloud over her.

    That begs an interesting question.
    If you were a female 800 athlete with medal prospects would you become more likely to level your own playing field if you were forced to compete against intersex athletes?

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by Profile photo of stevek26 stevek26.
    #64068
    Profile photo of laps
    Laps
    Participant

    That begs an interesting question.
    If you were a female 800 athlete with medal prospects would you become more likely to level your own playing field if you were forced to compete against intersex athletes?

    Good point.

    #64093
    Profile photo of stefan
    Stefan
    Participant

    Yes, how else are you going to beat them? It’s sickening. To me Melissa Bishop, Joanna Jóźwik and Lynsey Sharp were the real medalists last year.

    #64194
    Profile photo of dpickup
    dpickup
    Participant

    So Semenya, Nyonsaba or Wambui break that oldest WR, the women’s WR of 1.53.28, set in 1983. Subsequently the IAAF get in all the application for a WR details …

    Perhaps it will happpen soon …

    Perhaps it will happen after the IAAF have ‘cleared this problem up’ whatever that may be … so even might not happen? …

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