The problem with sex testing in sports


Caster Semenya’s court case is the latest chapter in a long and confusing history.
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This spring, the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld rules imposed by the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) limiting the participation of female athletes with high levels of testosterone. On the other side of the decision was Caster Semenya: a South African runner who has repeatedly been penalized by sports officials throughout her career. The IAAF has gone through many iterations of their female regulations throughout the past decade, and Caster Semenya has been targeted with each successive policy. Most recently, the regulation has been a testosterone limit of five nanomoles per liter.

Throughout the past decade, the media has been following Semenya’s story closely and shaping a narrative that is often misguided or inaccurate. In this video we piece together the underlying issues relevant to sex testing in sports and contextualize them within the long history of scrutinizing female athletes. By covering the controversy surrounding 2016 women’s 800 meters Olympic gold medalist Caster Semenya, along with historical events concerning Polish sprinter Ewa Klobukowska and Indian sprinter Dutee Chand, the goal is to help explain how athletic officials have repeatedly failed in their attempt to establish definitive sex testing regulations for female competitors.


Sex, gender, DSD, and other terminology:

IAAF policy:

IAAF study:

IAAF study criticism and research:

Testosterone research:

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