Our biography of Caster Semenya is now live.
That’s Caster Semenya above, running away from the 800-meter field at the world championships in Berlin in 2009. Her time of 1:55:45 was more than TWO seconds faster than the rest of the field.
Her out-of-nowhere victory, plus her impressive muscles, led the IAAF to demand both drug and gender tests of Semenya. That caused a storm of criticism on all sides, which was only resolved 11 months later when the IAAF ruled that Semenya could, indeed, compete in women’s races.
The IAAF’s report has never been made public, so her exact gender situation is not known. Her birth certificate clearly calls her a female. The Guardian says that it’s “widely reported that Semenya had both male and female sex organs and testosterone levels three times higher than typically found in a woman.”
In any case, she’ll be running for South Africa in the women’s 800 meters later this month.
Semenya is not the only controversial South African at this year’s Olympics. Her countryman, Oscar Pistorius, is running on artificial legs.
See our full Caster Semenya biography »