Semenya: center of dilemma with no easy answers


RIO de JANEIRO — The Olympics seek to promote three key values: excellence, friendship and respect. It thus follows logically that the Olympic ideal seeks to realize the best in each of us on the grounds that doing so makes all of us, together, better.

Sport has rules. These rules mean that a soccer game in Brussels is the same as a soccer game in Seoul is the same as a soccer game in Wichita.

Gold medalist Caster Semenya of South Africa on the medals stand // Getty Images

In the person of Caster Semenya, the runner from South Africa who on Saturday night at Olympic Stadium dominated the women’s 800m, winning in 1:55.28, these two big ideas clash.

It is entirely unclear how these tensions could — or should — be resolved.

It is in the person of Semenya that sport stands at one of its new frontiers — at the intersection of science, cultural norms and evolving standards of gender fluidity.

To read the rest of this column, please click through to