The most famous gender scandals


In August 2009, the World Championships in Athletics took place in Berlin. We can say that he went down in history. After all, it was then that the Jamaican runner Usain Bolt showed phenomenal results in the hundred and two hundred meters, and the Russian pole vaulter Elena Isinbaeva sensationally lost. But they were not the main characters of the press. Everyone was interested in the 17-year-old champion in the 800m race. The athlete from South Africa Caster Semenya won it. But her appearance was so masculine that doubts about her gender immediately appeared.

Was it a man, or perhaps a hermaphrodite? While there were fierce discussions on this issue, and everyone was waiting for the results of the gender test, in their homeland the runners even held demonstrations in support of her. You can recall the most famous cases related to the problem of gender in the world of sports.

Dora Ratjen (1918-2008). This case was the first time that a man's participation in a women's competition was proven. And this happened at a fairly high level. In Germany they created their own "Tutsi", disguised as a man. Most likely, this decision of the authorities was not accidental. After all, Germany performed rather unsuccessfully at the 1932 Olympics. And the home Games in 1936 were supposed to prove to all the world the strength of the Nazi state. So the authorities decided to play it safe by creating powerful female athletes from young men. And this idea did not seem at all crazy, because then there were no gender tests yet. At that Olympics, the Germans won the unofficial team event. But it is still unclear how many fake athletes defended the honor of the Third Reich.

But Dora Ratjen's case went down in history, becoming the first known gender at the Olympics. It is curious that the high jumper never won the medal, finishing only fourth. Dora's rivals, like her teammates, later recalled that Ratien never undressed in front of them. The sportswoman did not wash in the shared shower rooms. At the same time, Dora spoke in a low male voice, and she looked unusual. But this did not prevent the athlete from continuing her career. In 1938, Ratjen was able to win the European Championship, setting a new world record. However, on the way home, Dora was still declassified. Her examination was carried out right at a train station in Germany. Only 19 years later, Dora, who turned out to be Herman, admitted that in fact he had always been a man. And the Nazis forced him to compete in women's competitions in order to strengthen the country's authority. The athlete recalled that for three years he had to live as a woman. And this did not give him the slightest pleasure.

Stanislava Valasevich (1911-1980). The athlete was born in Poland, but from three months she began to live in the United States. When Stanislava grew up, she decided to obtain citizenship of her second Motherland, but at the last moment she changed her mind. In 1932, Valasevich became the Olympic champion in the 100 meter race. In Poland, the fastest woman on the planet has become extremely popular. For three years she was recognized as the best athlete in her country. Stanislava set world records in races of 60 and 100 meters, but at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, the representative of Poland became the second. Then the victory was won by the American Helen Stevens. The defeat of Stanislava was so unexpected that the champion was quickly accused of being in fact a man. But after checking the athlete, it turned out that this is not true. And after those competitions Valasevich herself finally moved to America, where she took a new name, Stella Walsh. The athlete continued her career, taking part in competitions until 1951. In 1947, Stele married the American boxer Neil Olsen, although this marriage quickly fell apart. Throughout the athlete's career and her subsequent life, she did not arouse suspicion in anyone. But the truth was revealed after the death of Stele. She died as a result of an attack by bandits. When the body of the former champion was opened in the morgue, it turned out that she had not only female, but also male genitals. The archives, meanwhile, have preserved a large number of documents, including a birth certificate. Everywhere it is clearly mentioned that Stanislava is a woman.

Eva Klobukowska (born 1946). This athlete was also born in Poland. According to rumors, in this country, as in other socialist countries, including the USSR, in the 1950s and 1960s, sex change at major sporting events was a natural thing. But there was practically no direct evidence. Then they began to carry out chromosome testing. And it was the athlete from Poland who came across it first. For the first time, the sex of athletes began to be checked in 1966. It happened at the European Athletics Championships. And after 2 years, these tests came to the Olympics. The first person to be checked was Eva Klobukowska. She won the 1964 Olympics by taking part in the 4 x 100 meter relay. A year later, she set a new world record at the 100m with a score of 11.1 seconds. At the 1966 European Championships, Eva won two gold medals. But the 1967 tests showed that an athlete cannot be considered a woman. At the same time, it remained a secret what was abnormal in her chromosome set. Later there was information that Klobukovskaya was even able to become pregnant and gave birth to a son. This once again confirmed the idea that a real woman may not pass a gender test if she has some deviations.

Renee Richards (born 1934). This athlete has written his name in history as a fighter for the rights of transsexuals. It all started in 1934, when Richard Ruskin was born in the United States. Even as a young man, he showed great promise in tennis, but he could not achieve high results. But fame was brought to him by constant travels around Europe in women's clothing. Richard even thought about having sex reassignment surgery. However, he suddenly changed his mind, got married, and had a son. But in 1975, Richard still went for surgery, so Renee Richards was born. The newly minted woman decided to take part in professional women's tennis. However, the rivals on the WTA Tour met the new athlete without much enthusiasm. And in 1976, Rene was not even allowed to participate in the US Open. However, Richards decided to defend her rights. A year later, she won the trial. The law confirmed the rights of transsexuals. Thus, Richard Ruskin became the first athlete to legally compete with women.

Rene's career lasted for another 4 years. Despite the fact that by sporting standards she was far from young (she was already over 40), the tennis player managed to break into the top twenty in 1979. The finals of the US Open in women's doubles can be considered her highest achievement. After graduating from her career, Rene worked a little as an ophthalmologist, and then returned to sports. She became the coach of Martina Navratilova. Richards has released two autobiographies. A book called "Second Serve" was even filmed, and the main role in that film was played by Vanessa Redgrave. It is curious that later Rene herself changed her principled position. Now she is fighting against transgender participation in women's tournaments. After all, if a strong tennis player has changed sex, then hardly any of the women can beat him.

Maria Patino (born 1961). In 1983, the athlete, the best in Spain in the 100 meters hurdles, took part for the first time in the World Championships in Athletics. The competitions were held in Helsinki. Then Maria did not achieve much success, but she successfully passed the gender test. Experts have unequivocally confirmed that she is a woman, about which a certificate was issued. After 2 years, Maria took part in the student Universiade in Kobe. However, she forgot her papers and was forced to take gender tests again. Unexpectedly for the athlete, she did not pass the test. She was immediately removed from the competition. The Spanish federation advised Patino to stage the trauma in order to hide the truth from the public. In January 1986, Maria won the competition in Spain, but the story of the failed test became known to everyone. The athlete was deprived of all won awards, her results were canceled. In the life of Mary herself, a black streak came. Not only was she expelled from the national team, the groom also left. However, later Maria was acquitted. It turned out that her body is immune to increased testosterone levels. Patino is nevertheless a woman who simply has a genetic disorder. Her disease is called androgen resistance syndrome. The famous scientist, Professor Albert de la Chappelle stood up to defend the athlete. He proved that excess testosterone in her body does not affect Maria's athletic performance in any way. She was again allowed to compete. In 1992, Patino failed to qualify for the Barcelona Olympics, just a hundredth of a second short. The athlete's career was over. Today Maria Patino is a lecturer at the University of Vigo.

Heidi Krieger (born 1966). This German athlete became a victim of steroids, which she was stuffed with the doctors of the team. The shot putter eventually went from woman to man. Today it is no longer a secret that in the GDR it was a common practice to stuff athletes with steroids and other illegal drugs. Heidi is a classic example of this approach. From the age of 16, her trainer gave her a mandatory powerful stimulating cocktail. It is not surprising that Krieger quickly gained muscle mass and hair began to grow on her body. The athlete said that she actually turned into a man, only without a penis. The powerful shot putter won the European Championship in 1986 and retired in 1990. Heidi was in a terrible psychological state, because doping changed her body. She was depressed, tried to commit suicide. Krieger could not understand who she really was - a woman or a man. As a result, Heidi realized that she was already more masculine. She underwent gender reassignment surgery, and Andreas was born. He said that the doctors simply used him as a tool in achieving their goals by killing the former Heidi. Over time, the former athlete was able to adapt to a new life, he even married a former German swimmer Uta Krause. Krieger had a daughter and now runs his own store. Heidi's example was contagious. In 2007, Yvonne Bushbaum became a man. She was a medalist at the European Pole Vault Championships several times before retiring due to injuries. Yvonne was transformed into Balian through an operation.

Edinansi Fernandez da Silva (born 1976). This Brazilian woman was born with both male and female genitals. In the mid-1990s, Edinance underwent surgery that determined her gender. Since then she has started competing in women's judo competitions. Even the IOC reacted favorably to this step. After all, today there are rules according to which a transsexual after an operation has the right to participate in sports competitions. You just need to pass two years in a kind of "quarantine". As a result, the judoka was able to achieve considerable success in sports. She twice won bronze at the World Championships in the weight category of 78 kilograms. Edinance won two gold medals at the Pan American Games. The athlete took part in four Olympiads, reaching 5th place. True, after the defeats of her rival, in frustrated feelings, they often call da Silva "a man". However, at one time she defended her right to be a woman, having achieved this in a legal way.

Santi Sundarazhan (born 1981). This Indian woman has become famous "recently" for failing her gender test. The athlete ran middle distances. She has set the nation's record for the 3000 meter hurdles. Santi was rightfully considered one of the strongest athletes in Asia at distances of 800 and 1500 meters. At the 2005 Continental Games, she was able to win silver at a distance of 800 meters. A year later, she again became the second, but already in the 1500 meters race. But one of the rivals suspected something was wrong, asking him to check Santi's gender test. The results were stunning. As a result, the athlete was deprived of awards with the wording "does not have sexual female characteristics." The press began to argue that Santi, like Patino, has a mixed set of male and female chromosomes. However, the runner herself was not up to it. The real persecution began on her. The Indian National Athletics Federation did not even try to defend its representative. The humiliated athlete faced personal and financial problems. She even attempted suicide, fortunately unsuccessful. But over time, Santi's life improved. She created her own sports academy, where she brings up about 70 teenagers. The brave Santi declares that he will still win the Asian Games, albeit as a coach.

Tamara Press (born 1937) and Irina Press (1939-2004). But this story is not so much scandalous as mysterious. Sisters-athletes broke into the elite of world sports. In 1960, at the Olympics in Rome, Irina won gold in the 80-meter hurdles, and Tamara pushed the core farthest. At the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, Irina won the pentathlon, and Tamara threw the disc farthest. The athletes gathered to continue their victorious procession in Mexico City in 1968. But it was announced in advance that at this Olympics, everyone will be tested for gender. Surprisingly, after the announcement of this news, both sisters refused to participate in the competitions, where they were considered clear favorites. In 1967, the Press sisters quickly ended their sports careers. It was officially announced that they had acute back pain, which prevents further participation in the competition. However, many believed that this was just an excuse. After all, doubts about their gender in the IOC appeared back in 1964. Sports doctors considered Irina and Tamara to be hermaphrodites. From birth they received additional physical capabilities, which helped them to win. And the refusal to participate in competitions where gender tests will be carried out only indirectly confirmed the guesses. It is no coincidence that the Western press dubbed our athletes "Press brothers". But in the end, the sex of the sisters remained a mystery.


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