When International sport governing bodies rule that ‘identified’ female athletes must medically alter their healthy bodies, under the guise of fair play, four champion runners from the Global South fight back against racism, the policing of women’s bodies in sport and the violation of their human rights
2009 Caster Semenya won the 800-metre title at the world championships in Berlin. However, her victory was not celebrated. Instead, she was thrown into the international media melee, first by fellow competitors and then by the IAAF (now world athletics) investigation, her private medical records thrust onto the world stage. Rather than a lauded champion, like Usain Bolt, her gender was questioned and she was vilified. She was only 18. In 1936, at the Berlin Games, 18 year old US sprint champion, Helen Stephens was forced to endure the first recorded ‘sex test’ in Olympic history. Decades apart, both athletes were sex tested at the same stadium, under the guise of fair play. What is fair play, if it is not inclusion, prevention of harm, non-discrimination, human rights and bodily autonomy? Category: Woman is the story of women’s rights, athlete’s rights, and human rights, while exposing the 80-year history of sex testing and policing of women’s bodies in sport.