CAS vs. IAAF — the Dutee Chand decision

The Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS) made a major ruling yesterday with broad implications. Dutee Chand, an Indian sprinter, had been fighting the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) policy which would have required her to undergo surgery, take medicine, and agree to other interventions if she were to compete as a female. Ms. Chand has naturally higher levels of testeosterone than most women; she had never identified in her life as anything but female.  She and her legal team fought the IAAF policy in the CAS, and won.

The CAS questioned the advantage of naturally high levels of testosterone in women’s sport, and ruled that Ms. Chand must be allowed by the IAAF to compete as a woman, essentially overturning the current IAAF policy. A New York Times article makes for fascinating reading.

This is a victory for Ms. Chand, and many would argue that it is a victory for women’s sport, and for sport in general. Nevertheless, many athletes, including marathoner Paula Radcliffe, supported the IAAF policy and worry that women’s sport may now be conducted on a less level playing field, if you will.

Issues of gender in society are front page news this summer in the USA. Sports, as a mirror of society at large, offer up a narrative within this larger story — the Dutee Chand story has been ongoing for well over a year, and we’ve discussed her story and the overall story of ‘Too Much T’ at different times here in the blog.

We thought we’d repost (below) a very popular commentary which includes discussion of this issue of testosterone in women’s sport: ‘The Sports Gene: How Olympians are made (or born).’ And we thought we’d include a poll on what you, the reader, think of this most recent CAS decision on IAAF policy. Vote, and let us know what you think!

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Take Our Poll

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine Blog

The venues at Sochi are still, it seems, a work in progress.  Nevertheless, before the week’s end, we will (should?) see the Winter Olympic games start up.  Soon, we’ll get to watch some of the finest athletes in the world compete at their sport.

There has been a lot of talk about the on-going construction at the most expensive games in Olympic history, as well as the issue of gay rights and cultural sensibilities in Russia;  and there have been worries about the potential for terrorism.  But soon, when the competitions begin, I hope the focus will justifiably be on the athletes on the snow and ice.

Or in Tweet speak: #LetGamesBegin

I’ve not been consciously preparing for this elite sporting event, but rather coincidentally recently picked up a book that highlights elite athletes and has received a great deal of positive ‘buzz’:  The Sports…

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About sportingjim
I work at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio USA, where I am a specialist in pediatric sports medicine. My academic appointment as an Associate Professor of Pediatrics is through Ohio State University. I am a public health advocate for kids' health and safety. I am also the Emerging Media Editor for the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine.

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