Hysteria Over Caster Semenya Has Only Just Begun

The latest is that Semenya, the 800-meter world champion, reportedly has high testosterone and a coach famous for stuffing East Germans full of steroids, and that her hero is WWE wrestler John Cena. Only one of these things actually matters.

The first two revelations come to us from the U.K. Telegraph and tell us little except that we're now in the midst of a full-blown international panic over a foot race:

A source close to the investigation into the 800 metres gold medallist has confirmed that tests carried out before the start of the World Championships indicated that the runner had three times the normal female level of testosterone in her body.

Telegraph Sport can also reveal that the head coach of the South African team is Dr Ekkart Arbeit, the former East German coach who was accused by a female athlete of giving her so many anabolic steroids that she was forced to undergo a sex-change operation and live the rest of her life as a man.

The Telegraph admits that it's not clear "how closely Arbeit has been working with Semenya." The implication, I guess, is that he's shot Semenya full of the same stuff that eventually turned Heidi Krieger into Andreas Krieger, even though by most accounts Semenya's androgyny has been a lifelong issue and not something that came recently at the tip of a syringe:

According to Eric Modiba, headmaster at the Nthema secondary school where Semenya was a star pupil, she was "unique" from the start.

"When she was a young girl Caster was stripped of a medal at an athletics meet after teachers complained she was a boy, but she was reinstated on my insistence as the winner," he said. "In fact it was commonplace for ‘toilet checks' for Caster whenever she competed in inter-school championships.

"I was caught out, too. Caster was always rough and played with the boys. She liked soccer and she wore trousers to school. She never wore a dress. It was only in grade II that I realised she was a girl myself."

[...]

Unusually for a young woman perhaps, Semenya's main interest has been WWF wrestling, a sport notable for competitors with extraordinary physiques.

"Her obsession is wrestling," said Dorcus. "She has many wrestling posters, particularly WWF." Her favourite figure is John Cena, a bodybuilder who became a world wrestling champion.

So she's always been a little unusual, hormonally and otherwise. This shouldn't be a surprise. The girl won the 800 title by more than two seconds — of course she isn't normal. All great athletes have some sort of freak abnormality, something the hysterics would do well to remember here. Michael Phelps has short legs and double-jointed knees; Semenya has a lot of testosterone and five o'clock shadow. The difference is that her abnormality makes everyone say ewww.

Caster Semenya: Boy, can she run [Sunday Times]
World Athletics: Caster Semenya tests 'show high testosterone levels' [Telegraph]