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Elite athletes exhibit a blend of both masculine and feminine qualities – grace and power, skill and strength – sometimes defying nature and challenging science. Caster Semenya is such an athlete. She won the 800 meters at the 2009 World Championships, only to face sex evaluation testing by the IAAF, the world organization that governs track and field. After 11 months of rumors, and Semenya not running, the IAAF ruled Semenya could compete against women, and she resumed her career. One week before an IOC-sponsored symposium in Laussane, Switzerland, on the topic of sex determination testing, Julie Foudy examines how complex sex evaluation and defining male and female athletes can be.
“The case of Caster Semenya was a grave injustice. She won a gold medal for her country at international games, and what she received in return from the IAAF, without basis, was humiliation, ridicule and rumor and innuendo that had no basis in fact, and no basis in legality.” — Jeffrey Kessler, lawyer representing Semenya, on the IAAF testing whether Semenya was a man or a woman
“Sex isn’t just what’s on the outside of the body. And in terms of how sports work, what matters is actually what’s on the inside of the body, because that’s the stuff that can give you certain advantages in terms of strength or endurance or grace.” — Dr. Alice Dreger, bioethicist and expert in sex anomalies
Twenty years ago this week, Colorado defeated Missouri in one of college football’s most infamous games. The Buffaloes, in a frantic finish, scored the game-winning touchdown with no time on the clock on what was an errant extra down. ESPN.com’s Tom Friend explores new revelations from those who were on the field that day about the cause – and effect – of the fifth down.
ESPN.com: “On Oct. 6, 1990, a football game was stolen, and the culprit was … the fates. It was a day when math teachers lost count and sure runners slipped and fell. It was a day when telephones went unanswered and a down marker played tricks with people’s minds. If there were an easy explanation, it would’ve been explained by now. If there were any one villain, he would’ve surfaced. The consensus, 20 years later, is that it was a once-in-a-lifetime accident, that there will never be another football game that ends on Fifth Down.” — Tom Friend
Wright Thompson’s Outside the Lines piece for ESPN.com examines how sports, specifically soccer, have helped raise the spirits and the hopes among the Chilean miners trapped since August. One of the miners, Franklin Lobos, is a retired Chilean national soccer player who now works as a truck driver in the mine. His family and friends have been lending support through messages and signed soccer jerseys sent into the mine. Wright explores how this story has captivated the world, and how a connection to sports highlights the larger human condition at play above and below the earth.
Successful 48-year-old Mexican businessman Luis Alvarez completed his 68th Ironman competition in August. He has compiled more than 9,000 miles in competition while becoming the only person to compete at least once in every Ironman in the world. The president of an automobile gas tank production company with 350 employees, Alvarez says his life was saved and his interest in sports began when, at age 23, he fell in love with a girl and joined a gym to do aerobics and be near her.
“I never exercised, so I weighed 94 kilos. I smoked since I was 12 years old. My physical condition was a disaster. I was happy and chubby.” – Luis Alvarez, on his pre-Ironman days
“It Happens” looks at one of the most natural things about the human body: poop. From marathon runner Julie Moss to the New Orleans Saints right before Super Bowl XLIV, every athlete has an “uh-oh” moment.
Fallen Tour de France winner Floyd Landis hopes to repay donors despite having no ride and little money.
Bonnie D. Ford reports
E:60 (Tuesday, 7 p.m., ESPN)
Reporter Rachel Nichols offers an all-access view into what New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is doing to shake off his “new kid” reputation and become the leader of a team projected as a Super Bowl contender. Featured is an exclusive, inside look at what the take-charge Sanchez did for his receivers this summer.
Jeffri Chadiha reports how former University of Michigan and NBA star Rumeal Robinson has drifted without a compass, turning what was once a promising career into a federal court conviction; and leaving his foster mother, Helen Ford of Cambridge, Mass., without a place to call home.
E:60 updates its Emmy Award-winning story about the savage beating of Bryan Steinhauer, and about his assailant, Miladin Kovacevic, a former Binghamton University basketball player who fled the country to escape justice. Jeremy Schaap follows the story as Steinhauer miraculously passed the first section of his CPA last month after relearning to walk and talk, while Kovacevic is finally sentenced in Serbia for the attack.