Journal of Medical Ethics 46 (9):563-564 (2020)

Sport is predicated on the idea of victors emerging from a level playing field. All ethically informed evaluate practices are like this; they require an equality of respect, consideration, and opportunity, while trying to achieve substantively unequal outcomes. For instance: limited resources mean that physicians must treat some patients and not others, while still treating them with equal respect; examiners must pass some students and not others, while still giving their work equal consideration; employers may only be able to hire one applicant, while still being required to treat all applicants fairly, and so on. The 800 m is meant to be one of these practices: a level and equidistance running track from which one victor is intended to emerge. The case of Caster Semenya raises challenging questions about what makes level-playing-fields level, questions that extend beyond any given playing field. In the Feature Article for this issue Loland provides us with new and engaging reasons to support of the Court of Arbitration for Sport decision in the Casta Semenya case. The impact of the CAS decision requires Casta Semenya to supress her naturally occurring testosterone if she is to compete in an international athletics events. The Semenya case is described by Loland as creating a ‘dilemma of rights’.i The dilemma lies in the choice between ‘the right of Semenya to compete in sport according to her legal sex and gender identity’ and ‘the right of other athletes within the average female testosterone range to compete under fair conditions’ (see …
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DOI 10.1136/medethics-2020-106740
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