For middle distance track athlete Caster Semenya, 2016 has been year with plenty of success– though it hasn’t been without drama. Now, to cap off her busy year, the Olympic athlete is wrapping up these 12 months on a high note as the cover girl on the most recent issue of prominent fashion magazine Elle South Africa.
Printed on the cover of the publication’s December issue is a large image of the track athlete dressed in Nike and a faded blue distressed jean jacket. The runner won gold for South Africa in the 800m at this year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Below her photograph, the cover text reads: “Castor Semenya– totally confident, seriously inspiring and funny.”
The 25-year-old South African athlete ran 1:55.28 for a new personal best to reset the national record. However, that win, and Semenya’s participation in the the Olympic Games was a controversial topic this year. Semenya is an intersex athlete meaning she was born not within a typical or obvious definition of gender. Because of this, many argued that her testosterone levels would be too high and her competing with other female athletes became a source of debate.
It should be noted though while the IAAF used to gender test athletes to check hormone levels, that practice was outruled by the court of arbitration for sport last year and that therefore Semenya was completely within her right to compete on the track in Rio.
Also in that race was Canadian track star Melissa Bishop. The talented 800m runner from Ontario reset the national record in the same race and fell just shy of a podium position with her fourth place finish. Her record stands at 1:57.02.
Prior to the 2016 Olympic Games, Semenya competed in the IAAF World Championships in 2009 and 2011. She also participated in the junior championships in 2008.
The following images are from the fashion magazine’s December cover shoot with Semenya:
“The noise, it motivates me. It encourages me to do well, and to be a better person. Not only for myself but in life, how I see and how I treat people. I choose to turn it into something positive. I don’t entertain what goes on. I focus on what i do,” @castersemenya800m. The December issue. On street Monday. @ellesouthafrica x @nike #ELLESACASTER ?: @jacquesweyersstudio