Michael Phelps, whose biological traits fall within norms for the men he swam against, recognises advantages of trans swimmers who retain many biological male traits

Remember. Advantages DO matter if they cross category boundaries. Sport does not exist to celebrate testosterone
Just like boxing does not exist to reward size/mass Paralympics do not exist to reward the absence of disability, and youth sport does not exist to reward maturation. We separate groups into categories/classes so that we can reward what is meaningful, unconfounded by what is not
This is, of course, the reason that we can celebrate Phelps for exceptional performances. And why we celebrate Ledecky for the same reason, even though if directly matched, only one would be rewarded. Hence, we ‘remove’ the effect of testosterone with a category that excludes it
And long arms, lung volume, metabolic capacity, fiber type, neuromuscular factors, technical skill, psychology etc then BECOME factors that actually matter, the things that Elaine Thompson shares with Bolt, Osaka with Djokovic, and so on. Categories ALLOW celebration of women

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More from @Scienceofsport

Jan 21
I want to try to explain something about testosterone and performance, since it has become the ‘fixation’ and the ‘the fix’ for inclusion policies for both DSD and trans athletes. So here’s a thread to ‘debunk’ and explain why T level, per se, is not quite the right place to look
First, testosterone is clearly a significant driver of the biological, and hence performance, differences between M and F. Nobody should dispute that (yet they do - more on this later). What sport has done, understandably, is to try to capitalise on this “cause-effect” concept to
…resolve the tension that exists between self ID and entry into the closed women’s category. Recall that women’s sport exists to exclude people who do not experience androgenisation during puberty and development. So sport said “If we can reverse the T levels, we can achieve...
Read 23 tweets
Dec 28, 2021
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
Read 4 tweets
Nov 19, 2021
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!) play.acast.com/s/realscienceo…
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
Oct 1, 2021
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
Read 11 tweets
Sep 23, 2021
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
Aug 18, 2021
@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

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