Getty Images

Female runners with high testosterone face new restriction

Leave a comment

Female runners with high testosterone must reduce those levels or will not be allowed in international races between 400m and the mile, according to an IAAF rule starting Nov. 1.

Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya, who was gender tested in 2009, is expected to be affected, according to South Africa’s Olympic Committee.

“Our evidence and data show that testosterone, either naturally produced or artificially inserted into the body, provides significant performance advantages in female athletes,” IAAF president Seb Coe said in a press release. “The revised rules are not about cheating, no athlete with a DSD [difference of sexual development] has cheated, they are about leveling the playing field to ensure fair and meaningful competition.”

The IAAF, after funding a study along with the World Anti-Doping Agency, said research showed the following natural testosterone levels:

Most women: .12-1.79 nanomoles per liter in blood
Normal men after puberty: 7.7-29.4 nmol/L

The IAAF rule forces all women who race the 400m through mile and who are androgen-sensitive to restrict their ratio to below five. It said women who have “a difference of sexual development” can have natural testosterone levels beyond the normal male range.

The IAAF and WADA-funded study found that women with high testosterone have up to a 4.5 percent advantage over their competition on the track.

Research showed 7.1 of every 1,000 elite female track and field athletes have elevated testosterone, most of which were runners in events between 400m and the mile.

“The treatment to reduce testosterone levels is a hormone supplement similar to the contraceptive pill taken by millions of women around the world,” an IAAF doctor said in the release. “No athlete will be forced to undergo surgery.”

The IAAF had gender-verification testing in place until 2011, when it was replaced with a test for abnormally high levels of natural testosterone. Under that rule, female athletes with a ratio of 10 nmol/L or higher could only compete against women if they had an operation or took hormones to reduce their testosterone level.

In July 2015, the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) suspended the IAAF’s regulation, ruling that it lacked sufficient scientific backing and was therefore unjustifiably discriminatory.

The gender-testing issue was raised in 2009, when Semenya won the world 800m title by nearly 2.5 seconds at age 18. Word leaked that track officials mandated she undergo sex testing.

Semenya was not cleared to run for 11 months and came back to earn silver at the 2011 Worlds and 2012 Olympics, while the testosterone-limiting rule was in effect, behind Russian Maria Savinova, who has since been stripped of her golds for doping.

Semenya then had a lull in performance after the London Games while the testosterone-limiting rule was still in effect. After CAS suspended the rule in 2015, Semenya peaked again in 2016, going undefeated in 800m races, twice breaking the national record and comfortably winning Olympic gold.

Semenya has never spoken publicly in detail about her situation. It has never been publicly verified that Semenya’s body naturally produces abnormally high levels of testosterone or that she ever took hormone suppressants.

An image with the sentence, “How beautiful it is to stay silent when someone expects you to be enraged,” was posted on Semenya’s social media Wednesday after reports were first published about the new rule.

Her default position is generally to talk only about her running, but she spoke out against her critics in a speech after accepting South Africa’s Sportswoman of the Year in November 2016.

“They say she talks like a man, she walks like a man, she runs like a man,” Semenya said, before finishing off the series with an Afrikaans word that loosely translates to “Get lost.”

South Africa’s Olympic Committee president Gideon Sam said Thursday his organization was “disappointed by the IAAF ruling.”

“Especially given that Caster’s name is again being dragged through the publicity mill,” he said in a press release. “We are concerned that the decisions have been approved without taking into account all factors into consideration, as these factors have not been properly nor fully ventilated. We wish to place on record that Caster Semenya has never engaged in any performance-enhancing activities and any enhanced testosterone levels are due solely to her genetic make-up.”

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Andre De Grasse on watching 2017 Worlds from hotel, 2018 goals

2018 U.S. Gymnastics Championships results

Getty Images
1 Comment

Results from the 2018 U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Boston …

Senior Women
All-around

  1. Simone Biles — 119.850
  2. Morgan Hurd — 113.300
  3. Riley McCusker — 112.750
  4. Grace McCallum — 111.650
  5. Shilese Jones — 109.850
  6. Jade Carey — 109.700
  7. Kara Eaker — 109.650
  8. Trinity Thomas — 109.600
  9. Alyona Shchennikova — 108.100
  10. Ragan Smith — 107.200
  11. Jordan Chiles — 106.850
  12. Shania Adams — 105.900
  13. Margzetta Frazier — 105.650
  14. Audrey Davis — 104.550
  15. Maddie Johnston — 102.250
  16. Sloane Blakely — 101.700
  17. Luisa Blanco — 101.000
  18. Olivia Dunne — 98.750

Vault

  1. Simone Biles — 31.125
  2. Shilese Jones — 29.050
  3. Grace McCallum — 29.000
  4. Morgan Hurd — 28.800
  5. Jordan Chiles — 28.750

Uneven bars

  1. Simone Biles — 29.400
  2. Riley McCusker — 29.300
  3. Morgan Hurd — 29.150
  4. Trinity Thomas — 27.900
  5. Alyona Shchennikova — 27.750

Balance beam

  1. Simone Biles — 30.100
  2. Kara Eaker — 28.650
  3. Riley McCusker — 28.500
  4. Morgan Hurd — 27.650
  5. Grace McCallum — 27.500

Floor exercise

  1. Simone Biles — 29.150
  2. Jade Carey — 28.300
  3. Morgan Hurd — 27.700
  4. Grace McCallum — 27.600
  5. Kara Eaker — 26.950

Senior Men
All-around

  1. Sam Mikulak — 172.900
  2. Yul Moldauer –168.150
  3. Allan Bower — 166.950
  4. Donothan Bailey — 166.800
  5. Alec Yoder — 166.550
  6. Akash Modi — 165.550
  7. Cameron Bock — 163.200
  8. Colin VanWicklen — 163.050
  9. Genki Suzuki — 162.800
  10. Kanji Oyama — 162.150
  11. Sean Melton — 161.300
  12. Robert Neff — 161.050
  13. Trevor Howard — 160.550
  14. Grant Breckenridge — 159.950
  15. Kiwan Watts — 159.500
  16. Tanner Justus — 158.650
  17. Anthony Stephenson — 158.300
  18. Alexei Vernyi — 157.800
  19. Shane Wiskus — 157.750
  20. Gage Dyer — 157.650
  21. Jacob Moore — 157.450
  22. Bennet Huang — 156.500
  23. Seth Delbridge — 153.500
  24. Jake Brodarzon — 150.600
  25. Kyte Crigger — 148.350
  26. Jalon Stephens — 109.850

Floor exercise

  1. Sam Mikulak — 29.100
  2. Yul Moldauer — 28.750
  3. Kanji Oyama — 28.650
  4. Allan Bower — 28.350
  5. Akash Modi — 28.300

Pommel horse

  1. Alec Yoder — 29.850
  2. Allan Bower — 29.200
  3. Ellis Mannon — 28.850
  4. Sam Mikulak — 28.600
  5. Donothan Bailey — 28.050

Still rings

  1. Trevor Howard — 29.200
  2. Alex Diab — 28.950
  3. Yul Moldauer — 28.650
  4. Sam Mikulak — 28.600
  5. Donnell Whittenburg — 28.550

Vault

  1. Anthony Stephenson — 29.550
  2. Yul Moldauer — 29.150
  3. Colin VanWicklen — 28.900
  4. Sean Melton — 28.700
  5. Donothan Bailey — 28.650

Parallel bars

  1. Sam Mikulak — 29.550
  2. Donothan Bailey — 28.350
  3. Yul Moldauer — 28.100
  4. Alec Yoder — 27.950
  5. Trevor Howard — 27.800

Horizontal bar

  1. Sam Mikulak — 28.400
  2. Donothan Bailey — 27.550
  3. Colin VanWicklen — 27.000
  4. Genki Suzuki — 26.950
  5. Akash Modi — 26.850

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

GYM NATIONALS: Where Are The Final Five?

Sun Yang requests second national anthem after flags fall in Asian Games medal ceremony

Getty Images
Leave a comment

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Sun Yang thought he’d seen it all in his glittering swimming career. That was until Sunday’s opening night of swimming finals at the Asian Games.

In an embarrassing technical blunder for games organizers, the flag hoist collapsed during the playing of the Chinese national anthem as Sun stood atop the podium after winning the 200m freestyle. Video is here.

Officials picked the flags up off the pool deck and hastily reattached them to the broken metal hoist but were unable to raise them again while the anthem was played for a second time, to the bemusement of Sun and spectators watching in the stands.

Diplomatically, Sun played down the incident when quizzed by reporters, saying he was just relieved to finally win the 200m free title which had eluded him in the two previous editions of the Asian Games.

Even though he is the reigning Olympic and world champion, Sun had never won the four-lap race at the Asian games, finishing runner-up to South Korea’s Park Tae-hwan in 2010 and second again to Japan’s Kosuke Hagino four years ago.

“I’ve waited eight years for this title,” Sun said. “It also gives me a golden grand slam of Olympic, world and Asian titles. It’s a perfect result, a dream. It’s unbelievable.”

Officials held the flags up in their hands for the subsequent medal ceremony before locating a replacement hoist for the remaining presentations. By the end of the night, China edged Japan 4-3 in the first seven finals decided.

Sun, who is trying to win the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m frees in Jakarta, cruised to victory in one minute 45.43 seconds.

He was outside his best, but with a busy program the 26-year-old did enough to win comfortably and celebrated in animated fashion, clenching his fists and punching the air in delight.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Five thoughts off Pan Pacific Championships