I came to read this article on two-time Olympic champion Caster Semenya being asked to take medication to lower her testosterone levels before she’ll be allowed to compete again. And while I find it ridiculous such a request is being made, I also find some problems with the writer’s comparison with Michael Phelps, the greatest swimmer of our time.
See article here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/we-celebrated-michael-phelpss-genetic-differences-why-punish-caster-semenya-for-hers/2019/05/02/93d08c8c-6c2b-11e9-be3a-33217240a539_story.html
The author reasoned that if no one stopped Phelps from competing, why can’t we celebrate Semenya’s biological difference, too? But I feel that the reason why Phelps was never asked to “correct” his double-jointed ankles or reduce his “vast wingspan” or increase his lactic acid (if at all possible) was because there’s no category for such a type of person, while there is a category for someone with comparatively higher testosterone and such persons (i.e. male), are drawn into a different race category.
Still, I find it blasphemous a woman naturally born with higher testosterone should be made to reduce it before she’s allowed to compete again because everyone else can’t beat her. If testosterone levels are so important in determining a person’s race category, then why not eliminate gender-based races altogether and move toward testosterone-based ones? This brings to question, what does it mean to be a woman?
I find this punishment of Semenya one of a loser mentality—to get rid of competition you cannot beat.
I recall an incident involving three-time Olympic gold medalist, Yoshida Saori. Apart from the 3 consecutive Olympic gold, she also won the international wrestling competition 16 times straight and had not lost a single match for 206 consecutive games. She was so strong, the international community was trying to stop her from participating in the games. Just because no one could beat her.
In a bid to win more medals, the sports community appears to have forgotten the true purpose of the Olympics, i.e. to promote peace and unity within the international community through the medium of sports. Why have we gotten so obsessed with the colour of the medal that we discard the essence of the Olympic spirit?