The South African runner whose gender was questioned after her World Championship win gets to keep the medal
Sport and Recreation South Africa has released a statement saying that Caster Semenya — the 18-year-old runner who took gold in the 800-meter World Championships last August, only to be subjected to gender testing and public speculation about her eligibility to compete as a woman — will be allowed to keep her medal, title and prize money because she “has been found to be innocent of any wrong.”
Furthermore, the statement says results of the International Association of Athletics Federations’ gender testing on Semenya will not be made public, because it’s nobody’s damned business. “The implications of the scientific findings on Caster’s health and life going forward will be analysed by Caster and she will make her own decision on her future. Whatever she decides, ours is to respect her decision.”
Although rumors that the IAAF had found Semenya to be biologically intersex emerged in September — leading to intrusive, insensitive and plain ignorant headlines (“She’s a man — and a woman!”) around the world — as recently as Wednesday, the IAAF said officially that “medical testing of the athlete is still to be completed.” Other than that, the organization has no comment. So the fact is, we have no facts about what the IAAF may or may not have found. And as the SRSA statement reminds us, we have no right to them, either.
The SRSA would have liked to hear something more from the IAAF — something like, “Sorry we bungled this horribly and caused Semenya untold distress” — but without evidence that someone inside the IAAF leaked confidential test results, the South African organization is ready to let it go.
We have asked the IAAF to apologise at the way the whole Caster Semenya saga was dealt with. Their response is: “It is deeply regrettable that information of a confidential nature entered the public domain.” The IAAF is adamant that the public discourse did not originate with them.
We also cannot prove the contrary. It is our considered view that this chapter of blame apportioning must now be closed.
One might hope all this will put an end to the worldwide disregard for Semenya’s privacy, but of course it won’t. Mary Vallis of Canada’s National Post responds to the latest news by lamenting that “after weeks of waiting, sports fans will not be getting the answers they are looking for.” Aw, poor sports fans! How will they ever go on without knowing a stranger’s medical test results? And certainly, Semenya’s being allowed to keep her medal should by no means reassure sports fans that she earned it or anything. “But does she deserve that medal? Without answers, people are never going to stop talking,” Vallis warns. Is it just me, or is the existence of gossipy jerks not actually a good reason to release a young woman’s confidential medical information?
Maybe Vallis is right that people will never stop talking. But maybe we can be better than that. The SRSA statement ends with thanks to the law firm that “stepped forward pro bono when the need to protect the rights and dignity of our golden girl arose,” and to “South Africans (old and young, black or white) who showed solidarity and support for our daughter.” In other words, thanks to those who have kept in mind that regardless of whether she’s biologically a woman, Semenya is first and foremost a human being — a very young human being who’s endured an extraordinarily public and relentless invasion of her privacy. Maybe if we all tried a little harder to remember that, we wouldn’t feel the need for more answers.
More Related Stories
- The best of Tumblr porn
- From global warming to fluoride: Why do people deny science?
- What does it really feel like to fall out of a building?
- How Dan Savage lost it
- Will U.S. amphibians become endangered species?
- I don't hate millennials anymore!
- Developers evict historic women's shelter to build luxury hotel
- Kaitlyn Hunt refuses plea offer, will go to court over high school relationship
- The secrets of cicada survival
- Nobody "needs" to rape
- Catholic Church in market for more exorcists
- Report: Nearly a quarter of all Americans struggle to afford food
- Louie Gohmert: Women should be forced to carry nonviable pregnancies to term
- This is what Guy Fieri looks like as a balloon
- Boy Scouts to members: Just don't be a gay adult
- Anonymous rallies behind Kaitlyn Hunt
- Mistrial in penalty phase of Arias case
- My text blew up in my face
- Boy Scouts end ban on openly gay boys
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11