More on determining her "gender"...

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(Tim: Here's a helpful explanation of the facts behind the current ruckus over the true sex of South African runner, Caster Semenya. It's contributed by our Track and Field Correspondent, David Wegener, who here clarifies this earlier post and comments.)

I think we're going to see that Caster was born and raised as a girl. She has female body parts.

However, I think we're also going to see that she has taken some

type of steroids (testosterone, whatever) so that her hormone make-up

has now crossed a line.

I need some help here in expressing myself. I don't know much about

hormones. Every time I'm in a discussion and the topic turns to

hormones, it's usually with a group of women, and a switch turns off in

my brain and I start looking frantically for a way to get out of the

room. Is there a child who needs a dirty diaper changed? I'll do that.

Did I hear you have a leak in your roof? Sure I'll be glad to check.

Let's do it now. Darkness doesn't matter. Timing on your cam-shaff a

bit off? Hey, this can't go on. Let's get under your hood.

The IAAF has disqualified "women" like Caster in the past. They were

so juiced that they were disallowed from competing as women. I can't

remember the name of the "woman" I'm thinking of but she was a sprinter

from an Eastern European country, cold war era. No one improves like

Caster did (just recently an unknown South African teen-ager) and gets

to this level (world class, sixth fastest time in history for women in

her event) this quickly without juice.

And then there's her body. Just look at the pictures. If you want to

read some interesting articles, type "steroids" and "East Germany" into

a search engine...

In the 70s and 80s testing for steroid use among

athletes (I'm mainly thinking of track and field and swimming) was

either non-existent or lagged woefully behind those who juiced and had

learned how to cover their tracks (pun intended). During this time, the

East German government gave their athletes steroids without telling

them. They told them they were getting "vitamins." Crazy things started

happening. They got a lot better in their event but they also started

to see physical and emotional changes, many of them unwanted by the


What are some of the results of this era?

First, look at performances. The times that "female" sprinters ran

and the distances that they threw have not been approached by athletes

since then. Sanya Richards is the fastest female 400-meter runner in

the world today. She won the World Championships this week in Berlin in

49 seconds flat. The world record is held by an East German (Marita

Koch) in 47.60 seconds. No one has gotten near this mark. Koch ran it

in 1985. You can also look at the Women's World Records for the

800-meter run, the long jump, the shot put, the discus, the 4x100-meter

relay, and the 4x400-meter relay. All were set by Eastern European

athletes in the 1980s. No one gets close to those records today.

But it's not just the evil communists who did it. Remember FloJo

from America? She holds the world records in the 100-meter and

200-meter sprints. Her times have not been approached and they were set

in 1988.

FloJo died before she reached the age of 40. Most believe she was using human growth hormone.

Lots of tragedies on both sides of the Atlantic. Everyone in Track

and Field knows all this, but what to do? We can't go back and test the

athletes and prove things now. Some have said we should have two sets

of world records: before 1990 and since 1990. Or before 2000 and since


Second, we have health issues. Long-term medical studies have been

done on the East German athletes who unknowingly received the steroids.

The study covered both men and women. What did they find?

-one in four (male and female) athletes got some form of cancer.

-one in three showed some form of auto aggression: cutting, suicide attempt, etc.

-one in nine withdrew from the study for psychological reasons.

-most of the children of those who took the steroids have disabilities.

This holds for fathers and mothers, but it is especially correlated

with mothers who were given steroids during their athletic careers.

Without minimizing the other findings, the last is the most depressing thing.

"Male and female He created them."