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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Olympic athletes not only fail drug tests, but also fail gender tests?

The Beijing Olympics just gets starnger and stranger...From the Guardian: For more than a year, officials in Beijing have been designing a special laboratory to determine the sex of any athletes taking part in this year's Olympic games. "Suspected athletes will be evaluated from their external appearances by experts and undergo blood tests to examine their sex hormones

, genes and chromosomes for sex determination," says Professor Tian Qinjie. The tests will not be conducted on every female athlete, but will be required if serious doubts have been raised about an individual competitor - invariably one competing in the women's events. "The aim is to protect fairness at the games while also protecting the rights of people with abnormal sexual development," he says. ...The International Olympic Committee (IOC) introduced sex testing in 1968 at the Olympic games in Mexico City, after the masculine appearance of some competitors, many pumped up by anabolic steroids, had started to raise questions about the gender of athletes in female events. Unsurprisingly, gender-determination tests were seen as degrading, with female competitors having to submit to humiliating and invasive physical examinations by a series of doctors. Later, the IOC decided to use a supposedly more sophisticated genetic test, based on chromosomes. Women usually have two X chromosomes; men an X and a Y chromosome. So, according to the rules of the test, only those athletes with two X chromosomes could be classed as women. However, many geneticists criticised the tests, saying that sex is not as simple as X and Y chromosomes and is not always simple to ascertain.


Read Here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2008/jul/30/olympicgames2008.gender

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