USOPC pushes category qualifiers for sport transgender issue

Dec 18, 2022, 6:15 PM | Updated: Dec 19, 2022, 8:16 am
FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2020, file photo, the Olympic rings are reinstalled after it was taken down ...

FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2020, file photo, the Olympic rings are reinstalled after it was taken down for maintenance ahead of the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the Odaiba section in Tokyo. The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee is encouraging individual sports to consider “category qualifiers” — classified in some sports as “open” categories — to ensure transgender athletes will have events to participate in once they reach puberty. The USOPC finalized its two-page “position paper” at its board meeting earlier this month and released it Monday, Dec. 19, 2022, addressing a proposed path forward for transgender participation in sports. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)

(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee is encouraging individual sports to consider “category qualifiers” — classified in some sports as “open” categories — to ensure transgender athletes will have events to participate in once they reach puberty.

The USOPC finalized its so-called position paper at its board meeting earlier this month and released it Monday, addressing a proposed path forward for transgender participation in sports.

The committee’s recommendations were based, it said, on the principle that science and “fairness” should guide all major decisions. As part of that, the two-page paper said the emphasis in youth sports (before children reach puberty) should be to push for as much participation as possible.

“Here, we believe the science is clearer that there is much less physical safety or competitive risk, or sporting advantage based on physiological sex characteristics,” the paper said.

The federation said it wanted to follow the science in determining the conditions under which transgender athletes can compete once they reach puberty, which triggers significant differences in testosterone production between biologically born males and females. It acknowledged that the “sport landscape may leave currently competing athletes feeling uncertain regarding potential shifts in their eligibility status.”

It used weight classes in boxing, handicaps in golf and different classifications in Paralympic sports, which engender a fair amount of debate themselves, as examples of ways athletes are grouped into different categories.

“There’s already that opportunity to delineate based on different things, and every sport is different,” said Nitra Rucker, the USOPC’s director of diversity, equity and inclusion. “So you have to look at it on a sport-by-sport basis.”

The British Triathlon federation is among the few that have adopted an open category, which is open to “all individuals including male, transgender and those nonbinary who were male sex at birth,” it said. Separately, it said, the female category is for “those who are the female sex at birth.”

World Aquatics, which released new rules earlier this year that effectively banned transgender females from competing against biologically born females, also said it was proposing an open category.

World Athletics, which is expected to release its revised policies for transgender athletes next year, most recently said that open categories were not among its current considerations.

Some transgender athletes have criticized the concept of open categories, saying transgender females should be able to compete in female categories, the way swimmer Lia Thomas did at this year’s NCAA championships. Others, such as Caitlyn Jenner, believe transgender females would have an unfair advantage in a female category but are skeptical about open categories because they doubt there will be enough athletes in them to stage a legitimate competition.

Rucker acknowledged the difficulties the USOPC had in coming up with a position that would satisfy everyone, but said the federation needed to weigh in.

“I think it’s important to make sure that we have a voice in this conversation in order to support our athletes, all of our athletes, in this space,” she said.

___

AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni calls out from the sideline in the first half of an NF...
Associated Press

Analysis: Nick Sirianni won over fans who didn’t want him

Nick Sirianni is getting his flowers figuratively instead of thrown at his face. The chest-bumping, sideline-prancing, expletive-tossing head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles has won over a tough city that questioned his credentials and mocked his introductory news conference when he was hired two years ago. Sirianni has the Eagles in the NFC championship game […]
1 day ago
Tommy Paul of the U.S. plays a forehand return to Novak Djokovic of Serbia during their semifinal a...
Associated Press

Djokovic tops Paul; faces Tsitsipas in Australian Open final

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Novak Djokovic put aside some shaky play in the early going and took over his Australian Open semifinal against unseeded American Tommy Paul on Friday, winning 7-5, 6-1, 6-2 to close in on a 10th championship at Melbourne Park and 22nd Grand Slam title overall. Djokovic’s parents and brother are in […]
1 day ago
The parents of Novak Djokovic of Serbia, father Srdjan and mother Dijana react during his post matc...
Associated Press

Djokovic’s dad to stay away from Australian Open semifinal

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Novak Djokovic’s father decided to stay away from the 21-time Grand Slam champion’s semifinal after getting embroiled in a flap involving spectators who brought banned Russian flags to Melbourne Park, Tennis Australia said Friday. In a release e-mailed to reporters about 2 1/2 hours before Djokovic was scheduled to face Tommy […]
1 day ago
Los Angeles Clippers guard Amir Coffey (7) shoots against San Antonio Spurs center Gorgui Dieng (41...
Associated Press

Clippers extend win streak to 4 with 138-100 rout of Spurs

LOS ANGELES (AP) — If anyone needed any proof of how confident Paul George and the Los Angeles Clippers are feeling, it came late in the second quarter of their game against the San Antonio Spurs. George stole the ball from Zach Collins after a bad pass by Stanley Johnson, dribbled down the court and […]
1 day ago
Dallas Mavericks guard Spencer Dinwiddie (26) celebrates a three pointer against the Phoenix Suns d...
Associated Press

Dinwiddie scores 36, Mavs top Suns 99-95 after Doncic hurt

PHOENIX (AP) — Luka Doncic’s early injury on Thursday night gave the Dallas Mavericks a very valid reason to lose on the road. Instead, Spencer Dinwiddie responded to the adversity with a season-high 36 points, Dorian Finney-Smith added 18 points and 12 rebounds, and the Mavs held on for a 99-95 victory over the Phoenix […]
1 day ago
Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Jack Johnson, right, battles for the puck with Calgary Flames forward...
Associated Press

Stauber wins again, Blackhawks beat Flames 5-1

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Two games into his NHL career, Blackhawks rookie goaltender Jaxson Stauber is playing like a poised veteran. Stauber stopped 34 shots for his second consecutive win and 13 players contributed a point as Chicago beat the Calgary Flames 5-1 Thursday night. “Looks really solid and calm in there,” Blackhawks coach Luke […]
1 day ago
USOPC pushes category qualifiers for sport transgender issue