The International Olympic Committee has been petitioned to take away Caitlyn (Bruce) Jenner’s gold medal. She won her gold medal in 1976 in the Montreal Olympic games. The committee is designed to support and encourage ethics, fair play, and prevents violence within the sports.
In the online petition submitted to the international Olympic Committee it said that all who signed were asking them to revoke Jenner’s, then Bruce’s, gold medal, because she always felt she was a girl even when she was competing in the 1976 decathlon. It went on to say that it was a violation of the rules of men and woman competing in one another sports. Although the petitioners did state their congratulations to her, and referred to her as Ms. Jenner to be polite and respectful.
The International Olympic Committee has wrestled with the difference between men and women, and how to distinguish between them, which is centered on the idea that each sex should not in competition alongside of each other in athletic sports. However until the 1990’s women were exposed to the degrading process of having to prove their gender, but the committee does holds the authority to verify gender of particular athletes. Most of the athletes do indeed fall into either a male or female category, although there are some that do not. For instance Stanislawa Walasiewicz whom in America is called Stella Walsh, was a medalist in two Olympics in the 1930’s, and after she died it was established that she indeed was intersex. Maria Jose Martinez a Spanish woman in 1985 who had transgendered completely, but had failed the gender test, because of a medical condition that would not allow her body to absorb the testosterone correctly. This made her unable to compete as a woman.
The International Olympic Committee has responded to the petition asking it to take away Jenner’s gold medal. Mark Adams the director of communications said that the committee would not revoke Jenner’s medal, because there was no issue for the committee.
Within a day of the Yahoo site originally publishing the news of the petition, 10,000 people signed on, and the organization has upped their signatures to 15,000, but it may all be very well for nothing, because the International Olympic Committee is standing firm on their position that Jenner will not lose her hard-earned medal. Most of the sports world is supportive of her transition, and she is scheduled to be honored at the ESPY awards, and receive an Arthur Ashe award for her courage. According to ESPN this award is intended to honor those whose contributions exceed the sports world, and sometimes it takes a life time to show that kind of courage, but it can also take a single act to bring to light the importance of an issue. There are always so many applicants that are worthy of this award, and this year they are pleased to honor Jenner for accepting herself for who she is, and being able to do so in a communal way to make a positive step forward for acceptance and progress.
The International Olympic Committee decided not to take away Jenner’s medal, partly because in 2012 they made a milestone choice to allow transgender people to compete in the Olympics, and can compete as the sex they transgendered into, but they will be required to meet three requirements first. A gender reassignment surgery must have been completed prior to entering the Olympic games, the athletes new gender must be of legal recognition in their own country, and has finished a minimum of two years of hormone treatment.
By Katherine Miller-Chichester
Yahoo Celebrity: IOC responds to petition seeking to revoke Caitlyn Jenner’s medal
Yahoo Celebrity: Petition urges International Olympic Committee to revoke Caitlyn Jenner’s Olympic title
Change.org: Revoke Caitlyn Jenner’s Olympic medals
Photo courtesy of Nekeva Corothers Flickr Page – Creative Commons License