Nike and Caster Semenya

Nike is on a roll with this great Caster Semenya ad, following so closely after the release of the Colin Kaepernick campaign. Nice to see Nike supporting so-called controversial athletes like Caster and Colin. If you haven’t been following what happened to Caster, check out this Guardian article:

The story of the South African runner Caster Semenya embodies these tensions perhaps more than any other. The multiple world and Olympic 800m champion has been the subject of insults, medically invasive procedures and hysteria since she first competed on the international stage. She has also been claimed as a national hero, an icon, South Africa’s version of Serena Williams.

Semenya’s story divided women in sport too. Sometimes uncomfortably so. Italy’s 800m runner Elisa Cusma Piccione cruelly labelled her “a man” after Semenya was diagnosed with hyperandrogenism, a medical condition characterised by elevated levels of testosterone. One of Great Britain’s national runners, Lynsey Sharp, decreed Semenya’s presence in the sport “unfair”, while marathon world-record holder Paula Radcliffe said, “When we talk about it in terms of fully expecting no other result than Caster Semenya to win that 800m, then it’s no longer sport.” Disturbingly, the female voices of dissent are overwhelmingly white. In contrast, those women most affected by athletics’ stance on what constitutes a female athlete are women of colour from the global south.

Posted in
Scroll to Top