IOC Expected To Toughen Restrictions On Trans Athletes

by SwimSwam Staff 12

April 26th, 2018 International, News

Liam Smith contributed this story.

According to British newspaper The Times, the IOC is expected to issue new guidelines halving the permitted level of testosterone allowed in female athletes eligible for women’s sporting events.

The revised guidelines comes only a few months after two transgender athletes made headlines by dominating their respective sport disciplines. The first was Laurel Hubbard, a weightlifter from New Zealand. An accomplished domestic lifter as a male, she drew the ire of fellow female competitors after winning silver at the 2017 World Weightlifting Championships. Most recently, she qualified for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, but an elbow injury during the competition forced her withdrawal from the event while leading the field.

The second, and perhaps most notorious case due to volleyball’s status as a mainstream international sport, is Brazilian Tifanny Abreu. She made volleyball history when she became the first trans female to play in Brazil’s Superliga. Since then, she broke the competition’s single game scoring record, and has dominated the league’s offensive statistics. Such performances drew the ire of many teams, players, and fans, who asked the Brazilian Volleyball Federation (CBV) to find a “solution” to the situation. Her performance led many to believe that she would be called up to Brazil’s NT, but a request from the FIVB and CBV prevented coach José Roberto Guimarães to do so.

We haven’t seen that level of impact in swimming yet – the major development of 2015 was Schuyler Bailar becoming the first openly transgender NCAA swimmer in memory. But Bailar, recruited to Harvard’s women’s swim team before switching to the men’s program, wouldn’t be affected by the new rules, which govern testosterone levels in male-to-female athletes competing in women’s sports.

There has been a lot of debate in the specific scientific community as to how much advantage a transgender woman has against their cis-gender opponents, with no firm answers yet.

Trans athletes were first allowed to compete in the 2004 Winter Olympics as long as they had gone through gender confirmation surgery and had been on hormones for at least two years. The surgical requirement was dropped in 2015 and the hormones period were lowered to a year. However, as of 2018, no openly transgender athlete has competed in either the Winter or Summer Olympic Games.

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Dan D.


The Boi Swim

This is a very tricky issue. I’m for transgender rights, but I don’t think me or anyone else wants to see unfairness in a competition.

Steve Nolan

There’s never a truly “fair” competition.

That said, people are going to be yelling about this for a long while.

Years of Plain Suck

And then there’s Andraya Yearwood, CT state champ in the girls 100m and 200m runs. The runners up were not happy.

Steve Nolan

Her dad’s quotes were pretty spot on, though.

“As her father, I never think about it as competition. This is not about winning and losing races. This is about the health of my teenage daughter. In terms of the fairness aspect, I don’t think about that as a father. I only think about, is my daughter happy, healthy and able to participate in what she wants to do? I don’t care if she wins or loses. I don’t care if she wins and gives the medals back. She got to compete as a girl where she feels she should compete. That’s all that matters to me.”

Years of Plain Suck

Steve: in general, I respect your comments on this forum. Here, however, I disagree that Andraya Yearwood’s father’s comments were “spot on.” When he says, “She got to compete as a girl where she feels she should compete — that’s all that matters to me,” that feels very narrow and selfish to me.

This sentiment feels both unfair and unsporting to the other competitors, many of whom were quite upset with the situation. Although Andraya may identify her gender as a girl, her sex is a biological male and that gives her certain athletic advantages over the other girls.

Coach John

just because equilibrium is unattainable doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be sought or in the thought processes…. I think everyone knows that fair can be an incredibly flexible and loose term.


We will achieve equilibrium when as may transgender women are winning medals as transgender men.

Sum Ting Wong

This still will not solve Australia’s female breastroke problem . 1 year , 2 years , genital surgery or not , lowered tesosterone levels , no man wants to take over Liesel’s sunny legacy . Some may have looked over at greener pastures but thought – on 2nd thoughts may be not .

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