The International Olympic Committee has delayed its decision on addressing the fairness and inclusion of women’s sports at the Olympic Games, and the protection of transgender athletes during competition. The IOC wanted to reach a decision before the 2022 Winter Games, but it has now been delayed due to conflicting opinions.
The news was revealed by the IOC’s Science and Medical Director, Dr. Richard Budgett, who wants to prioritize inclusion for international sports federations. The current guideline from 2015 states that transgender women can compete in the women’s category if they reduce their testosterone levels to below 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months before competing.
However, for the IOC to protect the human rights of an intersex or transgender athlete during competition, the policy needs to shift. In Tokyo 2020, DSD athlete Christine Mboma and Francine Niyonsaba had to compete outside of their middle-distance events due to high testosterone regulations, and 2016 800m gold medallist Caster Semenya (also a DSD athlete) failed to qualify for the Games outside of her discipline.
The plan is to move away from the current approach to protect and promote intersex and transgender athletes in competitions. The idea is to allow trans women to compete in the women’s category regardless of whether they have had gender reassignment surgery, as long as they can keep their testosterone levels low.
When the IOC and World Athletics make a decision, international federations will have to follow suit to determine specific rules for each sport.