Runner Caster Semenya Asked to Prove She’s a Woman
South African runner Caster Semenya won the women’s 800-meter race at the world championships in Berlin, but the 18 year-old may be at the beginning of a long trek. The San Franciso Chronicle reports that hours before her victory, the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) requested that Semenya undergo gender testing to prove that she’s a woman. Semenya has been scrutinized for having a deep voice, intense abs and an overall physique that is more muscular than her competitors.
According to CNN, IAAF spokesman Nick Davies says the question of Semenya’s gender was first raised after her incredible performances in the African junior champions.”In the case of this athlete, following her breakthrough in the African junior championships, the rumors, the gossip were starting to build-up,” he said. He also explained that the gender verification test is extremely complex; Semenya must be examined by several experts, including a gynecologist, psychologist and endocrinologist.
It wouldn’t be the first time a man has masqueraded as a woman in the name of a gold medal. In 1936, a German high-jumper named Dora Ratjen finished fourth in the Olympics and broke the women’s world record two years later. It was revealed that her real named was Hermann. And in a less premeditated instance, Polish runner Stella Walsh won two Olympic medals in the 1930s, while an autopsy after her death revealed that she possessed both male and female parts.