All Caster Semenya wanted was to “run free” in the body she was born with. As a two-time Olympic Champion, she is a dominant force in the international athletics scene, specifically in the 800m race. Last month, the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled in favor of a movement put forward by the International Association of Athletics Foundation (IAAF). This movement banned Semenya, and others with natural conditions, such as the hyperandrogegism Semenya has, which lead to high levels of testosterone. If they wanted to continue to compete in international competition, then she would have to take testosterone-suppressive drugs to lower her natural levels of testosterone to level deemed “normal” for female athletes.
A second appeal to the Swiss Supreme Court has finally lifted this ban after what seems like a nightmare year for Semenya and other afflicted athletes. Although this is a temporary action, the lift will remain in place until Semenya’s case can be fully evaluated by the Supreme Court. This could take a year or more to evaluated and gives these athletes a second chance to race!
This is certainly a step in the right direction. However, Semenya’s fight is not over. She will have to defend her case once again and be subjected to intensive questioning and demanding court appearances. The implications of this ruling impact our cultural understanding of gender, sex, and sport. It is crucial that we understand these concepts and fight for true equality. Most importantly, Semenya is back in competition in the body she was born to run in.