Olympic Committee announces new rules for trans athletes

Sports

(NewsNation) — After criticism from top female athletes, the International Olympic Committee is introducing new guidelines for trans athletes.

The issue of trans women competing in sports has sparked laws across the U.S. that limit participation, despite the relatively few numbers of trans athletes at local levels.

Trans swimmer Lia Thomas made headlines previously, sparking debate around whether testosterone levels would give trans women an unfair advantage. Her story is part of what prompted the Olympics to revisit their guidelines.

“My understanding is that testosterone levels alone won’t be part of the deciding factor and they’re going to rely on a bigger set of criteria now,” NewsNation’s Rich McHugh reported.

While offering guidance, the IOC is leaving the final decision to the governing body of each sport. Governing bodies are advised to make sure no athletes have an unfair advantage while also needing to “consider particular ethical, social, cultural and legal aspects that may be relevant in their context.”

The guidelines also include taking the mental health of athletes into consideration, and eligibility criteria should not systematically exclude athletes based on gender identity, physical appearance or sex variations. The IOC also advised athletes should never be pressured to undergo specific medical treatment to meet eligibility criteria.

Previously, the Olympic Committee said that at the elite level, there should be no presumption that trans women have an advantage. The new guidelines are an attempt to balance fairness and human rights, and will take into account a number of scientific factors as well as advancing equality.

Three-time Olympic bicycle racer Inga Thompson said the new guidelines are “beyond unfair.”

“If you really want to have true inclusion, you need to start another category,” Thompson said. “There are all these categories (sex, age, weight, etc.), so why in this one particular area do we need to take this and put it into the women, at the exclusion of women?”

See Rich McHugh’s full interview and report in the player above.

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