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Gender Test at the Olympics
  • August 6th, 2008

The Olympics Beijing will a testing ground for a new special testing designed to determine the sex of any athletes. This was created so as to “protect fairness at the games while also protecting the rights of people with abnormal sexual development”. Gender testing was abolished in 2000 games but will make its debut back in Beijing

In recent Olympic times the gender of athletes in female events was in question; those with masculine appearance of some athletes. But back when sex testing was introduced in 1968 Olympic (Mexico City) for suspected athletes, it was degrading as it will submit them to humiliating physical examinations by doctors

The new special sex gender test in Beijing will be discreet as it uses the genetic test based on chromosomes. A women usually have two X chromosomes while men has an X and a Y chromosome. There will also be confidentiality protocol regarding the test so as not to amount to any public humiliation

But of course there has been instances where its not just about chromosomes, where there has been cases where female athletes have an “intersex” condition. That means they have chromosomal abnormalities. For example, they might live their whole lives as a woman but their chromosomes test might tell otherwise

Some of the more famous gender confusion of athletes in recent times are:

Stanislawa Walasiewicz


A Polish and American athlete who won women’s 100m gold in 1932 Los Angeles and silver at the 1936 Berlin. She even was married once but was killed during accidentally during an armed robbery

When the postmortem came out, it was learned that Walasiewicz had male genitalia and both male and female chromosomes. She couldn’t be identified biologically as male or female. This condition is called mosaicism

Heidi Krieger


Born Heidi Krieger and competed as a women at top elite level and was 1986 European Champion in shotput, but is now a man. He had a sex reassignment surgery in 1997 and changed his name to Andreas Krieger

Krieger gave evidence at the trial of mass-doping involved in the East German sports program that the anabolic steroids he had been given had contributed to his transsexuality. The performing enhancing drugs have attributed to him gaining weight, muscular development and body hair

Santhi Soundarajan


She is an Indian athlete who was stripped of her women’s 800m silver medal won at the 2006 Asian Games when she failed a gender verification test. The results indicate that Santhi “does not possess the sexual characteristics of a woman”

Although she lived her entire life as a woman, she still failed the gender test, as Santhi is born with an intersexed condition known as Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS). This is where the condition includes the existence of a ‘Y’ chromosome (Men has X & Y chromosome, while women has X chromosome only) in women and results in an inability to respond to Androgens. This unresponsiveness leads to a female body without female internal sex organs

Her condition of intersexed which has been accepted in the Olympics, but the Asian Games failed to follow confidentiality protocol. The Asian athletics handling of the case was terrible as Santhi faced much public humiliation. It is reported she have attempted suicide last year, stemmed by gender and sports pressure in India

More info regarding gender testing


Posted by Uncle Sha.
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