Gender Verification Of Olympic Sports

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Gender Verification in Olympic Sports

In 1968 gender testing was introduced into the Olympics as a mandatory test. This test was put in place to ensure that male athletes were not trying to pose as female athletes due to the unfair advantage that they would be afforded (Wood). Though the test was carefully designed to distinguish a man from a woman, over time it has proven to be inadequate.

One of the first cases reported concerned a female athlete named Stanisława Walasiewicz. She won gold in the 1932 Summer Olympics for women’s 100 meter, and then again in the 1936 Olympics she won silver. It was not until 1980 when she was killed in an armed robbery that the autopsy revealed she had both male and female body characteristics. The first athlete to fail the gender test was Ewa Kłobukowska, a Polish athlete that ran in the 1965 Olympics in Tokyo. She competed in the women’s 4x100 meter relay winning gold and the women’s 100 meter where she placed third. It was not until 1967 that it was discovered that she had a rare genetic condition called mosaicism. This means that instead of the typical XX sex chromosomes that determine the female gender, she instead had sex chromosomes of the type XX/XXY. The Y sex chromosome is present only in males and regulates many male-associated characteristics. Although this condition did not allow for her to have an advantage, Ewa was still banned from competing in both Olympic and professional sports. It was not until 1999 that gender testing
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