Back during the good old days of the Cold War, Robin Williams had a joke that ran: “I really want to see sex made an Olympic sport, just to see what the East Germans come up with.” Back in those days, it was widely understood that East German athletes not only used performance-enhancing drugs, but in a few cases it was speculated that some of East Germany’s “women” athletes were actually what today we call “transgender.”
Or check out this old Slate story about Czech middle distance runner Jarmila Kratochvilova (pictured at left), whom many people back in the early 1980s speculated was really a man. Kratochvilova still holds the women’s world record for the 800 meters, which “she” set back in 1983. Nearly every other track distance record has fallen multiple times since then. Hmmm.
More recently there has been controversy over South African runner Caster Semenya, whose physique and running style certainly appears male. (I confess to watching Diamond League track meets on cable TV from time to time, but have been reluctant to admit this here for fear of giving Paul a reason to get even for my relentless mockery of soccer. It is always startling to see Semenya running alongside the rest of the women’s field.) Semenya has been subject to genetic and hormonal examinations, and appears to be possibly an authentically intersex human being, though there is lingering controversy over whether there should be prescribed limits on testosterone levels for athletes.
And then there’s the case here in the U.S. just this week of two “transgender” athletes blowing away the field in sprint events at a Connecticut high school state championship track meet. Like Semenya, these athletes dominate their events. You can watch the video below, and the most telling thing is the reaction after the finish of the also-ran field of girls, whose faces clearly betray their opinion. I suspect that opinion is, “This is bull—-!”
Somehow I think this is going to generate a lot more Trump voters.
Headline hat tip: Richard Samuelson.