Interesting thing about this argument (which tries to turn the desire to protect women’s sport into some kind of disparagement of women) is the irony that it’s only a CLEAR separation of the sexes that allows us to celebrate athletic achievements of women. It’s only when we (1/
…blur the lines and try to deny biological realities that we invite direct comparisons between male and female performance (which, in a further irony, is the premise for the necessary separation!) that women’s sport is undermined. For instance, nobody should have an issue (2/)
…celebrating a Wimbledon title for Williams as equal to that or Federer, or the 100m gold to Thompson as equal to that of Bolt. They exist so distinct from one another that they carry the same weight, one is not lesser. So categories in fact PROTECT the merits of a performance
…from someone in a necessarily separate category. Just as nobody makes a daft comparison of a lightweight to a heavyweight boxer. Yet we do this in the name of identity and then some say “that’s sexist”. No, it’s sexist in the other direction to ignore biology.

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More from @Scienceofsport

19 Nov
Our latest podcast is out, and in it, we discuss the IOC’s transgender guidelines. Here’s a short video segment, “First reactions”. You can listen to the full episode here (or wherever you get your pods!)…
The missing truth: aside from the deception of saying “no presumed advantage”, the missing piece is a simple statement of biological fact that trans women retain advantages even after T suppression (let alone without it). This omission can only be due to political influence.
This omission is compounded by two poor errors. First is framing it as an “individual athlete” assessment. That we can treat a group or person as a subset of the group from which they arise, and assess fairness based on their ability/characteristics. This unravels sport’s meaning
Read 6 tweets
1 Oct
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:…
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
Read 11 tweets
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:… 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

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