May 1, 2019

Olympian Caster Semenya loses appeal against IAAF testosterone rules

Caster Semenya. Photo: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Two-time Olympic champion Caster Semenya lost her appeal Wednesday against the International Association of Athletics Federations, whose rules are designed to reduce naturally high testosterone levels in some female runners.

Why it matters: The decision, announced by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, means that athletes like Semenya will be forced to reduce their natural levels of testosterone to run track events from 400m to the mile.

The backdrop: The IAAF believes hyperandrogenism, or naturally high testosterone in women, gives athletes a competitive advantage. The rules require athletes to maintain testosterone levels at a prescribed amount "for at least six months prior to competing."

  • Today, the court found that IAAF's rule for women athletes with naturally high levels of testosterone is discriminatory, but concluded "such discrimination is a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means."
  • 100 meter, 200 meter and 100 meter hurdles, and races longer than 1 mile and field events are exempt.

Semenya, who runs the 800 meter, said in a statement she believes the decision has "targeted me specifically," per the BBC.

  • "For a decade the IAAF has tried to slow me down, but this has actually made me stronger. The decision of the CAS will not hold me back. I will once again rise above and continue to inspire young women and athletes in South Africa and around the world."
  • Minister of the Sport and Recreation Department Tokozile Xasa said: "As the South African government, we have always maintained that these regulations trample on the human rights and dignity of Caster Semenya and other women athletes. We will comment further studying the full judgement."

What to watch: The Court of Arbitration for Sport said it had "serious concerns as to the future practical application" of the IAAF regulations.

Go deeper

Special report: Health care workers vs. coronavirus

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images, Bruce Bennett/Getty Images, and Europa Press News/Europa Press via Getty Images

Health care workers are at an especially high risk of catching the coronavirus, because of their prolonged exposure to patients who have it. Making matters worse, the U.S. doesn't have enough of the protective equipment, like masks and gloves, that keeps them safe.

  • And yet these workers, with loved ones of their own, keep showing up at hospitals across the country, knowing that more Americans than they can possibly care for are depending on them.
Go deeperArrow34 mins ago - Health

Backed by the Fed, bond investors get bullish

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Fed's massive injections of liquidity have reopened much of the bond market, and after back-to-back weeks in which more than $100 billion flowed out of bond funds, investors have regained their bearings and now see opportunity.

What's happening: But after the hemorrhaging outflows relented last week, bulls may now be sticking their heads out a bit too far. Junk bond funds took in more than $7 billion for the week ended April 1, according to Refinitiv Lipper, setting a new weekly record.

What top CEOs fear telling America about the coronavirus shutdown

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Top CEOs, in private conversations and pleas to President Trump, are warning of economic catastrophe if America doesn't begin planning for a phased return to work as soon as May, corporate leaders tell Axios.

Why it matters: The CEOs say massive numbers of companies, big and small, could go under if business and government don't start urgent talks about ways groups of workers can return.