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IOC Announces New Framework For Determining Eligibility For Transgender Athletes
TOKYO, JAPAN - AUGUST 06: Gold medalist Quinn #5 of Team Canada reacts with their gold medal after becoming the first openly transgender athlete to win Olympic gold during the Gold Medal Match Women's Football match between Canada and Sweden at International Stadium Yokohama on August 06, 2021 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)
Naomi Baker/Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee made a momentous announcement on Tuesday, saying that they are moving away from their testosterone testing approach, and allowing each sports governing body “to determine how an athlete may be at a disproportionate advantage against their peers, taking into consideration the nature of each sport.”

“We have not found the solution to this big question which is out there,” IOC spokesman Christian Klaue said. “But what we have tried to do is outline a process which helps international federations to set eligibility criteria and to find solutions. And we will continue helping them doing that work. But clearly, this is a topic that will be with us for a long time. … It’s a long-term project.”

The previous ruling  — which has been in place since 2015 — required transgender women to meet a testosterone level below 10 nmoI/L for at least 12 months prior to competition in order to participate. Now, the IOC has laid out a 10-part framework for each individual sport to adhere to when determining the eligibility of an athlete. 

“Athletes should never be pressured by an International Federation, sports organization, or any other party (either by way of the eligibility criteria or otherwise) to undergo medically unnecessary procedures or treatment to meet eligibility criteria,” the committee said.

“Provided they meet eligibility criteria that are consistent with principle 4, athletes should be allowed to compete in the category that best aligns with their self-determined gender identity,” the committee continued. “Criteria to determine disproportionate competitive advantage may, at times, require testing of an athlete’s performance and physical capacity. However, no athlete should be subject to targeted testing because of, or aimed at determining, their sex, gender identity and/or sex variations.” 

The IOC also stated that there should be “no presumption of advantage” when evaluating whether a trangender woman can compete. 

“No athlete should be precluded from competing or excluded from competition on the exclusive ground of an unverified, alleged or perceived unfair competitive advantage due to their sex variations, physical appearance and/or trangender status,” the committee said.  

“Until evidence (per principle 6) determines otherwise, athletes should not be deemed to have an unfair or disproportionate competitive advantage due to their sex variations, physical appearance and/or transgender status,” the IOC added.

While the IOC is going away from their previous methods, they do appear to allow for the testing of testosterone levels by individual governing bodies. 

“Medical information about an athlete, including testosterone levels, that is collected in the context of anti-doping or otherwise, must be handled in compliance with applicable privacy laws and should be used only for purposes disclosed to the athletes at the time such information is collected,” the committee stated. 

The Summer Olympics in Tokyo saw the first transgender athletes compete, including Quinn, a Candian soccer player. 

“Far too often, sport policy does not reflect the lived experience of marginalized athletes, and that’s especially true when it comes to transgender athletes and athletes with sex variations,” Quinn said in a statement. “This new IOC framework is groundbreaking in the way that it reflects what we know to be true — that athletes like me and my peers participate in sports without any inherent advantage, and that our humanity deserves to be respected.” 

As reported by The Daily Wire, an October U.K. report “concluded that male-to-female transgender athletes do, in fact, have a competitive advantage against biologically female athletes and that it is impossible to guarantee both safety and fairness if male-to-female transgender athletes are allowed to compete in women’s events.”

“The report, released by the United Kingdom’s Sports Councils Equality Group, which includes representatives from sporting organizations across the U.K., took 18 months to compile information through hundreds of interviews with dozens of people and organizations,” The Daily Wire added. “The group found that ‘Transgender athletes have an unfair advantage in female sports’ and that that advantage remains even when ‘testosterone levels have been reduced,’ according to the Daily Mail.”

Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to

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