UPDATE: CAS has now released an “executive summary” of the judgment, here in PDF. Nothing in that summary alters anything in my analysis below.
In a 2-1 split decision, the Court of Arbitration for Sport has ruled against Caster Semenya and in favor of the IAAF. The decision legitimizes the discriminatory regulations of the IAAF. The characterization of the regulations as “discriminatory” is not mine, it is that of CAS, which finds the regulations to be discriminatory, but nonetheless necessary to protect some women from some other women.
The New York Times characterizes the decision as follows: “The highest court in international sports issued a landmark but nuanced ruling on Wednesday that will force female track athletes with elevated levels of testosterone to take suppressants to compete in certain women’s races at major international events like the Olympics.” [Note: According to the NYT the original quote I used was edited out of its story: “
The decision by the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport provided a resounding victory for track and field’s world governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations, or I.A.A.F.”] While the bottom line result can certainly be interpreted this way, the decision is not without nuance, complexity, confusion and contradictions. Semenya’s legal team has said that they are considering an appeal.
In this post I will comment on the CAS decision — based on its two-page press release today (PDF) – from the standpoint of scientific integrity, a topic which I’ve discussed related to these regulations for several years, long pre-dating this arbitration proceeding.
As you may know, I was a pro bono expert witness in the proceedings for Semenya. My comments here are my personal views alone. I will comment on further issues when the full decision is made available. I am not lawyer or a doctor. I have worked on issues surrounding the use and misuse of science in policy making for more than 25 years. As well, I have published peer-reviewed research on the issue of “sex testing” in sport as well as with colleagues on the issues of scientific integrity at play in this case. So with that throat clearing … Today, I have three main reactions. Continue reading “Pielke Comments on Semenya/ASA vs. IAAF”