By Sport Law Editor – Andy Brown
July 27th, 2012
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has a difficult task. When it was formed back in 1894, founder Pierre Baron de Coubertin didn’t have to worry about troublesome things such as human rights and sex discrimination. Such concepts were in their infancy, if they existed at all. Women weren’t allowed to compete in the inaugural modern Olympics in Athens in 1896, gaining representation in tennis and equestrian events only, in Paris 1900. Since then, the world has changed, but sport continues to split events into ‘men’s’ and ‘women’s’ categories. It has generally been agreed that determining whether someone is female by examining their genitalia is not acceptable – and not always accurate – yet the IOC is still required to split men and women in the interests of ‘fairness’ and sporting history.
How should it do this? The IOC has come up with its Regulations on Female Hyperandrogenism for the Games of the XXX Olympiad in London 2012 on 22 June, after the Caster Semenya case forced it to rewrite its rules on eligibility of female athletes. It followed the logic of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which told World Sports Law Report “if we don’t have rules on this, we will also face legal challenge from other female athletes” when publishing its own Regulations on 1 May.
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Published July 2012