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Transsexuals get OK to compete

Associated Press

Transsexuals were cleared Monday to compete in the Olympic Games for the first time.

Under a proposal approved by the IOC executive board, athletes who have undergone sex-change surgery will be eligible for the Olympics if their new gender has been legally recognized and they have gone through a minimum two-year period of postoperative hormone therapy.

The decision, which covers both male-to-female and female-to-male cases, goes into effect starting with the Athens Olympics in August.

The IOC had put off a decision in February, saying more time was needed to consider all the medical issues.

Some members had been concerned whether male-to-female transsexuals would have physical advantages competing against women.

Men have higher levels of testosterone and greater muscle-to-fat ratio and heart and lung capacity. However, doctors say, testosterone levels and muscle mass drop after hormone therapy and sex-change surgery.

IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said the situation of transsexuals competing in high-level sports was “rare but becoming more common.”

IOC medical director Patrick Schamasch said no specific sports had been singled out by the ruling.

“Any sport may be touched by this problem,” he said. “Until now, we didn’t have any rules or regulations. We needed to establish some sort of policy.”

Until 1999, the IOC conducted gender verification tests at the Olympics, but the screenings were dropped before the 2000 Sydney Games.

One of the best known cases of transsexuals in sports involves Renee Richards, formerly Richard Raskind, who played on the women’s tennis tour in the 1970s.

Richards, now a New York opthamologist, was surprised by the IOC decision and was against it. She said decisions on transsexuals should be made on an individual basis.

Greene lashes out at cheaters

Maurice Greene has a message for Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery and anyone else implicated in the latest steroids mess: Deal with the consequences.

Greene said he stands behind the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency rule that can bar an athlete from competing in the Athens Olympics without a positive drug test. Sunday, Jones said she would go to court if USADA held her out because of the rule.

Jones and Montgomery were among several athletes who testified before a grand jury in the BALCO drug investigation.

“I stand behind USADA and everything that they do,” Greene said at the final day of the U.S. Olympic Team Media Summit.

“The whole thing with this BALCO case, they made the stuff to be undetectable so they weren’t supposed to find it. What do you do if you know a person that possessed some of the stuff or had some dealings with this company?

“There is no room in our sport for drug cheaters whatsoever.”

USADA has the power to bring a drug case against an athlete in lieu of a positive test when the agency has “other reason to believe that a potential doping violation has occurred, such as admitted doping,” according to its rules.

Roddick wants to play doubles, too

Andy Roddick is so eager to compete at the Olympics that he wants to play doubles, too.

“It’s something that I’ve dreamt about forever and a day. I’m super excited” to go to Athens, Roddick, a lock to play singles, said at the U.S. Olympic Team Media Summit.

U.S. Olympic tennis coaches Patrick McEnroe and Zina Garrison must select their four singles players and two doubles teams for the Summer Games by June 28.

Olympic tennis is Aug. 15-22, and Roddick will begin defense of his U.S. Open title Aug. 29.

“Yes, it’s a packed summer, there’s no doubt,” he said. “But it’s once every four years – it’s the Olympic Games. Someone’s going to have to drag me off the court not to play there.”

IOC closes book on drug cases

The International Olympic Committee closed the cases of two dozen U.S. Olympic medalists who failed drug tests in the 1980s and 1990s.

The IOC executive board reviewed information that it was given by the U.S. Olympic Committee last September, when officials revealed the positive tests.

“The IOC medical commission is of the opinion that most of the cases were handled in accordance with the rules at that time,” IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said.

Of the 24 medalists, 19 tested positive for stimulants commonly found in cold medicines or caffeine, the USOC said. Most cases occurred more than a year before the Olympics where the athletes won medals.

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