World Athletics president calls future of women’s sport ‘fragile,’ defends testosterone regulations — Times of London

“The integrity of women’s sport if we don’t get it right, and in fact the future of women’s sport, is going to be very fragile,” Koe said in remarks at the World Championships in Athletics in Belgrade. London Times.

Last week, University of Pennsylvania swimmer Thomas became the first transgender athlete to win an NCAA Division I title after taking first place in the women’s 500-yard freestyle event.

Thomas, who previously swam for the men’s team at the University of Benin, has been the target of intense scrutiny in the United States as several states have moved to limit the participation of transgender women in women’s sports. Its success has raised questions, especially in the right-wing media and Among Republican politicianson what makes competition fair and who should be considered a woman.

According to the rules of world athletics, which govern track and field — and do not apply to swimming — a transgender woman must demonstrate that her testosterone levels have been consistently below 5 nanomols per liter for at least 12 months. To compete, it must maintain these levels “for as long as it wishes to maintain its eligibility to compete in the women’s competition category”.

But some athletes do not strictly comply with these rules. The board considers an athlete to be transgender if their “gender identity … is different from the gender assigned to them at birth”. But the rules do not specify how and when the athlete must prove the gender assigned to him at birth. It is also unclear whether the rules apply to athletes of non-binary gender. The organization has a separate set of rules for athletes with differences in sexual development (who are sometimes known as intersex).

“There is no doubt that testosterone is the main determinant of performance,” Coe said.

“Look at the nature of girls at 12 or 13,” Coe said in his book. “I remember my daughters regularly outperforming their male counterparts in their class, but once that gap starts and stays in puberty and it stays that way. Gender can’t outpace biology.” Interview with the Daily Telegraph.

But 2017 study In the Journal of Sports Medicine, it found “no direct or consistent research” on transgender people who have an athletic advantage over their gender-matched peers.

“You can’t be oblivious to public sentiment,” he said, “of course not.” “But science is important.”

“If I am not satisfied with the science we have and the experts who have been working on this for so long, it would be a very different scene,” Koe said, according to The Telegraph.

CNN has reached out to World Athletics for comment on Coe’s comments but has yet to receive a response.

Thomas hasn’t spoken in public since his interview with SwimSwam Podcast in December. In that interview, she nodded in the direction of the argument but didn’t participate.

“We were expecting there to be some degree of pushback by some people,” she said. “And to the extent that there was an explosion, we weren’t fully expecting it.” “I just don’t deal with it. It’s not healthy for me to read and interact with it at all, and so I don’t.”

How an Ivy League swimmer became the face of the debate about transgender women in sports

There are many different hormones that are naturally produced at a range of levels in people of all races and genders. Sensitivity to hormones can also affect the development of anatomy and may cause anatomical differences not associated with typical male or female binary classes. There is controversy in the scientific community as to whether male hormones such as testosterone are useful markers of athletic advantage.

For more than a decade, the NCAA has required transgender women to undergo testosterone suppression therapy for a year before being allowed to compete on a women’s team.

But in January, the NCAA said it would take Approaching sports through sports to its own rules for the participation of transgender athletes and submission to the national governing body of each sport.

USA Swimming then issued a set of stricter guidelines that require elite trans athletes to have at least three continuous years of testosterone levels below 5 nanomols per liter, and to demonstrate before a panel of medical experts that they do not have a competitive advantage over gender. woman.

The new rule threatened to make Thomas ineligible to compete in the NCAA tournaments. However, the NCAA said these rules will be put into place in a phased approach over the coming seasons rather than in the middle of the current season.

Last week, Rica Giorgi of Virginia Tech wrote in open letter Posted on Swimming World and shared by Republican Representative Dan Crenshaw on Twitter that it was “disrespectful” for the NCAA to allow Thomas to compete against what Gigori referred to as “biologically female (swimmers),” using a term that does not have a standard medical definition, and is sometimes used to imply – contrary to knowledge – that there are characteristics common to all compatible women with gender that distinguishes them from all transgender women.

“I would note that I respect Lia Thomas and stand with her completely; I am convinced that she is no different from me or any other D1 swimmer who has woken at 5 am her whole life for morning training. She has sacrificed her family Vacations and Vacations for Competition,” Giorgi wrote.

“She has pushed herself to the limit to become the best athlete she can be. She does what she loves and deserves it right. On the other hand, I would like to criticize the NCAA rules that allow her to compete against us,” she added.

Lia Thomas, a UPenn swimmer, dives during the 100 Freestyle prelims at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships March 19, 2022 at the McAuley Aquatic Center in Atlanta.

After Thomas’ victory last week, several news sites claimed that the three swimmers who were beaten by Thomas staged a protest on the podium.

However, Erica Sullivan, Thomas’ closest competitor, explained in Instagram share That she was subjected to “false allegations made by the right-wing media”, and that the photo, which she was taking with her fellow competitors at the Tokyo Olympics, has been taken out of context. In the same post, she also posted a photo of her shaking Thomas’ hand.
at opinion article For Newsweek, she wrote, “I’ve got a platform to advocate for my community, and I can’t sit in silence as I see a fellow swimmer’s basic rights up for debate. All swimmers embody a variety of identities and characteristics: what makes each of us unique also contributes to our success in the pool.”

“However, no one questions the validity of how the unique traits and skills of gender sympathetic athletes, or who they are, contribute to their success. However, Leah Thomas was unfairly targeted for swimming at the University of Pennsylvania — for being her, a transgender woman.”

“Like everyone else in this sport, Leah has trained hard to get to where she is and followed all the rules and guidelines laid out in front of her. Like everyone else in this sport, Leah doesn’t win every time.

“And when she does, she deserves, like everyone else in the sport, to be celebrated for her hard-earned success, not called a cheater just for her identity,” she said.

CNN’s Eric Levinson contributed to this report.

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