The CHill Zone of T&F: Conway's View From the Finish Line

CAS Needs to Get This Right

Jan 5th, 2019
7:45 am PST

Perhaps the most important decision for the sport this year, will be made in March when the Court for Arbitration in Sport (CAS) makes a ruling on the Caster Semenya case. 

This matter has been ongoing for the better part of the 20-teens, with the IAAF ruling Semenya ineligible to compete because of testosterone levels much higher than those of women. Then CAS ruled, because of a suit brought by an Indian sprinter, that that decision was arbitrary and that proof need be shown that competing with higher testosterone levels is detrimental to others. The IAAF then coming back with more specific rules based on a study of the affect on performance of “elevated” testosterone. That’s my shortened abbreviated version of what’s taken place.

The two sides of the argument are both very strong in their opinions. Those that say Semenya has a huge advantage and shouldn’t be allowed to compete against women, and those that say that the levels are “natural” and “not Semenya’s” fault and therefore Semenya should be allowed to compete against women. Somewhere in the mix are those who fear defining women based on testosterone levels, and looking to see what it all means for transgender athletes. 

The bottom line is that a lot rests on the upcoming CAS ruling, and it goes far beyond Semenya.

My two cents for what it’s worth. First of all, if we’re ruling that doping is illegal, and we’re banning people because they enhance their testosterone (among other things) then we’ve already decided that testosterone advantages are not ok! The fact that having more than double “legally”, or  “naturally” (especially against women) should not change this opinion. If enhancements are wrong, then they’re wrong. If not, open up the flood gates!

Secondly, Semenya’s natural birth condition (intersex – bearing elements of BOTH) blurs the lines of womanhood. As does the transgender issue where one is born male, but then “converts” to female. The individual still has the make up of a boy/man genetically – and that can’t be erased. As such they have advantages physically over women that have  no male DNA, testosterone, etc.

I know that there is the attempt to be politically correct and please everyone, which is why the push by many to let Semenya compete. But what many deem “fair” to Semenya, other intersex athletes and transgenders is inherently unfair to “basic” women. Leaving them with no justice. And side note, I find it interesting that the idea of having intersex and transgenders compete against men is NEVER on the table! I’m assuming because it’s thought to just not be fair. Rather ironic. 

The ONLY decision that I see that is fair, is the creation of a new category of competition, where intersex/transgenders individuals can compete against each other. No different than we already have with handicapped individuals where the competition is even graded based upon ability/inability. This is the only way to satisfy the need for competition and to protect the inherent right of true born females. Who to date really have had no advocates in this matter. 

I’m my opinion, while many have been making this about Semenya, the role that CAS should be taking is as arbiter for all sport in this matter. And that means making a decision that both advocates for, and protects everyone! I hope they get it right.

Ten Predictions for 2019

Dec 31st, 2018
8:55 am PST

I'm going to start the new year right. One, I'll be posting more. Not as much as I used to because I'm coaching. But a lot more than I have since my illnesses/surgeries. That said, I'm going to start with my predictions for 2019 - the first being that it's going to be a fun year for track and field. We've got a whole lot of new talent all over the track (& field) and many will be competing in their first World Championships Read More...

Six Matchups I’m Looking Forward To in 2019

Nov 24th, 2018
3:32 pm PST

  Ok. The 2018 track season is well behind us now as cross country and marathons dominate the landscape. As a matter of fact, the indoor season is right around the corner, which means that many athletes are already back grinding in preparation for the first of the upcoming three Championships ahead in this next major cycle Read More...

Bring Back the 100

Aug 19th, 2018
3:27 pm PST

Two of the sports most exciting events are the "mile" and the 100. I put the mile in quotation marks because there are two versions of the mile. In addition to the actual mile, there is the 1500 meters, often called the metric mile. That's actually kinda cool, because it provides some flexibility when meets are being put together Read More...

Pulling Up the Last Leg of 2018

Aug 10th, 2018
7:21 pm PST

This has been a very interesting season. We knew that it would be, given that it's an off year and off seasons are usually marked by change - and 2018 has seen lots. As a matter of fact, we're looking at a nearly wholesale revamping on the men's side. I can't remember this great a reboot since BALCO laid waste to the landscape back just after the turn of the century Read More...

The Sprints New World Order

Jul 22nd, 2018
2:53 pm PST

The "Old Guard" is officially gone. It took a long time as athletes have longer careers than in the past, but it still happens. The athletes that have dominated the world stage since 2004 have finally given way to the new generation of sprinters and hurdlers. When the next championship cycle begins in 2019, there will be a slew of new young athletes taking the podium Read More...

Future NOW

Jul 7th, 2018
1:23 pm PST

The US sprint corp has been aging for some time now. The world has been mourning the retirement of Usain Bolt, but the truth is that America's best for more than a decade are right behind him. Consider that our top sprinter last year, World Champion Justin Gatlin, was 25 years old. Remarkably his title came 13 years after his Olympic title in Athens! Our global medal hopes have been in the hands of Gatlin, Allyson Felix, Tyson Gay, LaShawn Merritt, Sanya Richards Ross, Wallace Spearmon, and a few others for well over a decade Read More...

Is Coleman the Heir Apparent?

Mar 14th, 2018
7:50 am PST

Christian Coleman has had a blazing indoor season. He opened with a WR 60 meters of 6.37 that had no chance of rectification because electronic blocks weren't used. He then proceeded to cruise 6.4s, on his way to the US Championships. There he shut down on 6.47 and 6.43 heat and semi before crushing the WR with a 6 Read More...

Usain Bolt v Carl Lewis

Nov 6th, 2017
11:51 am PST

A recent comparison of Carl Lewis v Usain Bolt by Michael Johnson - and the ensuing online discussion - has prompted this post. In part because I disagree with Michael, and in part by the direction of the online discussions themselves. I'll start by saying that for me, the conversation is about a comparison of the two athletes, NOT a discussion of which is the GOAT Read More...

The Sprints Will Now Reset

Oct 26th, 2017
6:32 pm PST

The period around Olympics is usually when we see resets occur, and Rio will go down as such a period. Ashton Eaton used Rio as his final hurrah. Usain Bolt and Mo Farah used the Worlds following Rio as their Major farewell. The retirement of Bolt is especially important, as there are a bevy of elite sprinters that have all had their careers intersect with his Read More...