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Caster Semenya Best Sports Controversy of 09

Semenya

NBC-owned website UniversalSports.com has named the Caster Semenya gender controversy the best sports story of 2009.

Semenya made headlines this year by winning the women's world championship 800-meter reace. But just as soon as Semenya won the race, the questions began.

Writes Joe Battaglia for Universal Sports: "The media tribune at the Olympiastadion in Berlin was buzzing about an Australian newspaper report that questioned whether the South African teenager was indeed a woman. After reading the article, I turned to my colleague, Alan Abrahamson, and the only words we could muster were, 'Oh, my.' Like watching a flame approach a powder keg, you just knew this was going to explode. And it did.

"Semenya and her competitors barely had time to walk off the bright blue track before questions were raised in the mixed zone, the area below the stadium where athletes interact with members of the media. Those questions continued outside the competition arena. Was South Africa trying to pull a fast one by sending a man to compete in women's events?"

The situation remains unresolved.

"If Semenya is confirmed to be a hermaphrodite by the panel of scientists studying her condition," Battaglia writes, "the issue for the IAAF will be whether her raised testosterone gives her an unfair advantage over her rivals -- a situation that would require medical treatment if she wishes to race again in women's competitions and reduce the heightened risk of testicular cancer that comes with the presence of internal testes."

Read the full story here.

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