â†µWalasiewicz continued her career on the track until the 1950’s, even winning a U.S. national title in 1951, when she was 40 years old. In 1975, she was inducted in the U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame. At that point, she was an active leader in all sorts of Polish-American youth and sporting associations, endeavors that she continued until her untimely death in 1980. â†µDuring a routine autopsy of Walasiewicz’s body, it was discovered that she possessed male genitalia. A more detailed investigation also revealed that she possessed the male XY chromosome. Based on these facts, she would have been ruled ineligible to compete in women’s events, and there was brief but spirited debate in the IOC about the possibility of posthumously rescinding her medals before the matter was dropped altogether. â†µâ†µ
â†µGender tests became mandatory in the Olympics starting in 1968, spurred by the discovery at the 1967 European Championships that another Polish sprinter, Ewa Klobukowska, possessed the male chromosome. Klobukowska was subsequently stripped of the gold and bronze medal that she won at the 1964 Tokyo Games. Sadly, this was a heinous injustice -- tests ultimately proved that Klobukowska’s chromosome was not the male XY but in fact a genetic mutation, XXY, that in no way affected her gender or sex organs. A mystery remains, however, about the Ukrainian sisters, Tamara and Irina Press, who won five Olympic gold medals between them in track and field in the 1960s but instantly disappeared from the scene when mandatory gender testing was enacted. It is widely believed that both were hermaphrodites, although Russia denies any such allegation to this day. â†µ
â†µOlympic gender testing was halted at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 due to pressure from the athletes, and the IAAF stopped the practice at international events in the early '90s after concluding that gender tests were no longer needed. It did, however, retain the right to initiate a gender test if suspicions were aroused, lest another athlete try to pull a Stella Walsh. Caster Semenya is the first case in which the IAAF has invoked that right since stopping widespread gender tests. â†µâ†µ
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