Rather than write a long thread, here’s a podcast or an instagram video with my thoughts on yesterday’s Sports Council transgender guidelines, what they say, imply, confirm, and mean for the future:

Or the insta, if preferred: instagram.com/tv/CUevYGKKLES…
One thing I discuss in the podcast is the appalling issue raised by the report, which is fear of recrimination that has been created for those (particularly women) who speak out with concerns about fairness & safety. That they’re backed by scientific evidence has been irrelevant.
The report makes clear how threatened people have felt, how lacking confidence to express legitimate thoughts on this issue. So when people say “We consulted widely”, I’d urge caution, because unless people are protected, they’re not being honest, because they’re scared. And with
…that in mind, I have to say, that while I have always focused on the physiology & performance elements, it has not escaped my notice that the tone of this discussion has changed not because of the science, but rather because brave women have found a voice to protect their sport
, to oppose the undermining of its integrity, and to raise what are important issues (including the science, of course). There are now so many (a critical mass, I hope), so I’ll forget some, but I’m thinking here of the likes of @sharrond62, @cathydevine56 and @FondOfBeetles, all
@sharrond62 @cathydevine56 @FondOfBeetles …of whom spoke truth to inconvenience. Also @nolli15 who spoke at the World Rugby event to ask the difficult questions. It really does take courage to do that - just read that section of the report. I don’t think we’d be able to discuss the biology had it not been for them
@sharrond62 @cathydevine56 @FondOfBeetles @nolli15 And what I hope is that anyone else involved and affected now understands that you have biology on your side, you have a lot of people who agree, and that the publication of this report enables you to speak louder and louder. Go for it! And then, very crucially, there are also
@sharrond62 @cathydevine56 @FondOfBeetles @nolli15 …some male scientists & athletes who’ve contributed to the discussion. Here I’m thinking of @runthinkwrite & @TLexercise who showed “scientific courage” when so many this field have been cowed (it’s crazy that reporting data takes courage, but such is this issue). And finally,
@sharrond62 @cathydevine56 @FondOfBeetles @nolli15 @runthinkwrite @TLexercise@daley_thompson who has spoken out as an athlete. Oh, and earlier, I forgot @mara_yamauchi who actually wrote of her own reluctance to speak out, but is now also a voice in support. These contributions have changed the direction, more than evidence, and are all worth admiration
@sharrond62 @cathydevine56 @FondOfBeetles @nolli15 @runthinkwrite @TLexercise @Daley_thompson @mara_yamauchi And yes, @martina (told you I’d miss people, I’ve no doubt I’ve missed others, it’s not intentional). As blanket statement, whoever has spoken up for evidence-based decisions and the necessary protection is who I mean!

More that I forgot. I’m sorry for the omission, Linda & Beth. But if I may find a silver lining, that so many are on this this list is the reason for the changes and progress. Both @coachblade & @BethStelzer have been formidable and consistent voices, often in difficult places

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More from @Scienceofsport

23 Sep
So, @WorldRugby has released guidelines for contact load during training in elite rugby. You can read the full document and a summary infographic here: world.rugby/the-game/playe… I wanted to share brief thoughts on the process & principles behind the guidelines, so here goes...
@WorldRugby First, the need. Research has found that training injury risk (in terms of incidence, or injury risk per 1000 hours) is relatively low, BUT…because training volume is so high, a large number of injuries happen in training. And full contact training has the highest risk. So the
@WorldRugby …need is created by the risk. Plus, cumulative load (including training) is clearly important. Therefore load management principles, just like you’d apply to any training programme, are crucial to reduce injury risk. That’s summarised in the first of the infographics:
Read 18 tweets
18 Aug
@SUE_K47 Yes I saw it. And it’s important that the research be recognised as flawed (in some respects, faulty) & limited. But I don’t see this as the bombshell Roger is claiming. the DSD policy has two components - the evidence around specific events (which is what the paper did so badly
@SUE_K47 …and second, the principle regarding androgenisation in males, not females, that necessitates a separate competition. I think everyone at CAS already knew this about the research - it was discussed at great length there. From the flaws to the theoretical problems. The IAAF even
@SUE_K47 …conceded, at CAS, that there were issues with the research, and nobody claimed it was “conclusive proof” of advantage. So this correction doesn’t actually change much about what was heard by CAS - both sides debated the paper pretty intensely. So I don’t think it’s a ‘bombshell
Read 10 tweets
4 Aug
@DesiFootyStats It’s different by scale (a lot) and concept. First, scale. Phelps was about 0.2-0.4% better than his rivals. Indeed, he even lost races. His “advantage” was worth about half an arm length. Compared to the male vs female advantage, that’s tiny. M vs F is about 10-12%, so Phelps
@DesiFootyStats …would be about FIVE body lengths ahead of Ledecky or McKeown. The M vs F difference is enormous, way way bigger than anything that exists within males because of long arms or whatever other simplified theory one has for why an athlete wins.

Next, let’s talk concept.
@DesiFootyStats Let’s begin by asking “why do categories exist in sport?” What’s the reason we have a women’s event, or a lightweight boxing title, or age categories etc?

The answer is that we create categories because we want the outcome of a sports event to have meaning and be a way to
Read 11 tweets
2 Aug
Folks, you can't measure the presence of an advantage by whether someone wins or not. It has to be measured relative to self. The final performance is the SUM of base level PLUS advantage. So looking only at the final says nothing about the presence of absence of an advantage.
For instance, if I competed in the Tour de France with a 100W motor in my bike, I clearly have an advantage. But I still wouldn’t win - my base level is too low. In order to surpass the competition, your base level must be close enough to them that your advantage takes you ahead
The same is true if you use a doping analogy. We KNOW doping improves performance, it is an advantage. But a doper doesn’t always win. Because unless the doper is within the % of their rivals that doping improves then by, their base level will not allow them to win an event.
Read 4 tweets
2 Aug
The paradox in action. Illegal advantage in the 400, legal in the 200. The reason this weirdness exists can be traced back to the CAS Chand decision in 2016, and the “narrow” framing of evidence for the DSD policy, but this situation was inevitable. The events are too similar
Ok, brief explanation. In 2016, the policy for DSD athletes covered all events. Chand challenged it, and CAS said they understood the rationale for the policy, but it required evidence. WA were thus mandated to find the evidence. They tried, but did a poorly conceived study that
…looked for an association between T and performance in each event. They found a positive association in the 400m, 400m H & 800m, and actually a negative on in the 100m! But the policy was thus revised to cover those events, plus the 1500m, as it was deemed similar to 800
Read 10 tweets
30 Jul
Mixed 4 x 400m relay heat 1 in Tokyo has just given us a great illustration of sex differences in running (see leg 3 to 4). Based on some discussion here over the last few months, a lot of people need to see this real world illustration. Including, apparently, English commentary
Speaking of the mixed relay, I think it would make the race incredibly exciting if they made teams draw randomly to decide the order of sexes. Imagine a race with some teams going MMFF, some FFMM, some MFFM, or MFMF etc. That race would be suspenseful and hugely unpredictable

Here’s a handy little toolkit for that mixed 4 x 400m final. Top 2 qualifiers (or heat winners) get to select their order. The other 6, you just cut these little strips up, and make the teams draw from a hat. I promise it’ll be super exciting the whole way! 👍🏼
Read 4 tweets

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