• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Petitioner Wants Olympics To Revoke Medal Caitlyn Jenner Won As Bruce Jenner

Jenner Decathlon

There have been plenty of dumb, and quite often insensitive and insulting, responses to the Vanity Fair cover story introducing Caitlyn Jenner, but this suggestion that Jenner’s Olympic Gold Medal be revoked strikes me as among the dumbest:

A petition posted on change.org is urging the International Olympic Committee to take back the gold medal Caitlyn Jenner won in the 1976 Games in Montreal.

Addressed to the IOC, the petition, written by Jennifer Bradford, reads:

It has recently come to light that gold medalist Bruce Jenner is in fact transgender, and therefore, identifies as a woman. We congratulate Ms. Jenner on these new developments and wish her the best. However, this creates somewhat of a problem as Ms. Jenner (as talented as she is) claims that she has always believed herself to be truly female, and therefore, was in violation of committee rules regarding women competing in men’s sports and vice versa. Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that we must ask whether or not it is proper that Ms. Jenner should retain her olympic records in light of this, as we must now either claim that Bruce Jenner and Caitlyn Jenner are two entirely different people (which we know is not true), or that Bruce Jenner was, in fact, a woman participating in a men’s event. It is only fair to all involved that women receive their credit as champions of the Decathalon and that the men racing Ms. Jenner are not expected to compete with a superior, streamlined being such as herself.

We urge Ms. Jenner to support the transgender community by giving up the medals earned by competing against the wrong gender.

Thank you, and congratulations to Ms. Jenner for her courage!

Jenner, who announced her new name as Caitlyn on Monday and said she has always known she was a woman, competed in the Olympic decathlon as Bruce Jenner. In 1976, Jenner, who was married at the time, was not taking hormone therapy; she may have known she was a woman for her whole life, but she was living as a man, no matter how unhappily, at that time.

I have also seen suggestions that Jenner’s record should be classified as a record for women. These are absurd ideas, of course. When Jenner won the Decathlon in Montreal, she did so as Bruce Jenner. She was not taking hormones at the time, and it’s not entirely clear how aware even she was of her situation. Now that she is known as Caitlyn Jenner it is, I suppose, appropriate to make notation of that fact in things such as the Wikipedia entry for the event, but to pretend that it didn’t take place is absurd. Similarly, the argument that Jenner was “competing under the wrong gender” is just silly. Moreover, the idea that “Bruce Jenner and Caitlyn Jenner are two entirely different people” is simply absurd. They are the same person, with a different name; to treat her as otherwise is just plain ridiculous. There is much about the whole transgender issue that will take society some time to adjust to, but there’s no need to erase history or to refuse to acknowledge that Bruce Jenner never existed.

For its part, the International Olympic Committee is not interested in visiting this issue, and has apparently already addressed the issue of future Olympians who may be transgender males or females:

It is now safe to say that Caitlyn Jenner will go down as the first woman to have ever won an Olympic gold medal and set a world record in the men’s decathlon.

After being pressed by a petition on Change.org that calls for the revocation of Jenner’s Olympic gold medal she won in the 1976 Summer Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is allowing Caitlyn Jenner to retain her medal despite her sexual transition.

The petition, which had over 11,300 signatures as of Thursday afternoon and originated out of Fort Worth, Tx., argues that because Jenner has said she has always identified as a woman,that she was a woman when she received her gold medal in 1976.

(…)

The IOC has said that the fact that Jenner competed as a man will have no impact on her status as an Olympian and that the committee has “no issue” with Jenner’s gender after her announcement, according to The Independent.

The IOC’s decision shouldn’t come as much of a surprise as the committee has been somewhat ahead of the game in addressing the inclusion of transgender athletes in competition. In 2003, the IOC Medical Commission met in Stockholm, Sweden to discuss and “issue recommendations” on the participation of athletes who have undergone sex reassignment.

According to Olympic.org, the Commission concluded, and recommended, that “individuals undergoing sex reassignment from male to female,” and vice versa, “be eligible for participation in female or male competitions, respectively,” and under these conditions:

-Surgical anatomical changes have been completed, including external genitalia changes and gonadectomy.

-Legal recognition of their assigned sex has been conferred by the appropriate official authorities.

-Hormonal therapy appropriate for the assigned sex has been administered in a verifiable manner and for a sufficient length of time to minimise gender-related advantages in sport competitions.

The Commission also recommended that “eligibility should begin no sooner than two years after gonadectomy,” or, in layman’s terms, the surgical removal of an ovary or testis.

There are legitimate issues of fairness that will be raised if, say, a person who was born physically male attempts to compete as a female in a future Olympics, and I’ll leave it to others and to a future discussion to decide whether or not the IOC’s rules on the issue are the right way to handle. it. It seems fairly clear that such a thing is going to happen sooner rather than later, perhaps as soon as the 2016 Olympics in Brazil and, if not then, then certainly at some future event. That’s an issue for the future here, what we’re dealing with here is the past, and it strikes me that the IOC’s response on the Change.org petition is the right way to handle this matter. Bruce Jenner won the Olympic Decathlon in 1976, that is a fact. Caitlyn Jenner can have whatever identity she wishes going forward. Changing the past, though, is rather silly when you get right down to it and, frankly, just a little bit dishonest.

Related Posts:

  • None Found

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Scott says:

    It is not silliness; it is spite.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Jack says:

    Bruce, not Caitlyn won a gold medal. Period. Striking it, or as the Olympic Committee has suggested, changing the name associated with the medal to Caitlyn is stupid.

    Besides, Bruce is still Bruce until he gets rid of that pesky Y chromosome. He can say he’s a woman all he wants, but to call it “normal” when less than 1% of the population is doing it is changing the definition of normal.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Franklin says:

    I agree with Doug’s post, and commend the IOC for coming up with those guidelines way back in 2003! That is still some 27 years after Jenner won, and when Bruce won, he followed the rules whether you are considering pre-2003 rules or post-2003 rules. So yes, this whole suggestion is silly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Franklin says:

    @Jack: Less than 2% of the population has green eyes. Can I presume that those people are abnormal as well?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Jack says:

    @Franklin:

    Less than 2% of the population has green eyes. Can I presume that those people are abnormal as well?

    No. A factual statement would be that it is not normal to have green eyes. This is not a judgment on the people but on their having green eyes.

    I’m not calling Bruce Abnormal. I’m saying that trying to change your gender mid-stream is abnormal.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Franklin: Less than 2% of the population has green eyes. Can I presume that those people are abnormal as well?

    As a green-eyed person, yes, you can say that. It is a fact. Hell, I’ll say it for you: I have green eyes, and that is abnormal. Which is one of many ways I am abnormal.

    And I couldn’t care less. If I did, I’d say that I prefer the term “exceptional,” but that’s simply spin. It means the same.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    And I couldn’t care less. If I did, I’d say that I prefer the term “exceptional,” but that’s simply spin. It means the same.

    For the record, only “America” is exceptional.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @al-Ameda: Also for the record, you’re an exceptional putz.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. Gustopher says:

    Jenner’s medal seems more honest than the Patriot’s AFC Championship victory with the Deflategate/Ballghazi issues.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    @al-Ameda: Also for the record, you’re an exceptional putz.

    Not possible for two general reasons: (1) only “America” is exceptional, and (2) ‘putz’ is a term reserved to characterize regular FoxNews viewers.

    I am, however, a ‘mensch,’ though not ‘exceptional.’

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    This thread and the Rubio/New York Slimes thread reminds me… are we all pretending that Whatever Jenner didn’t recently kill an innocent woman while driving?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    are we all pretending that Whatever Jenner didn’t recently kill an innocent woman while driving?

    Trolling around again I see. Glad you feel better.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. Gustopher says:

    @Ebenezer_Arvigenius: I know that if I were killed in an auto accident, I would feel better if it was by someone whose gender I was comfortable with.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    This thread and the Rubio/New York Slimes thread reminds me… are we all pretending that Whatever Jenner didn’t recently kill an innocent woman while driving?

    Well, with all the red light running that Rubio does, for all we know … Whatever (Whichever?) Rubio might have done that, right?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. michael reynolds says:

    Define normal.

    Or failing that, use a more precise word.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. Tyrell says:

    I was wondering how long it would be before some nutcase group demanded that some sort change concerning Jenner’s Olympic medals records. I had figured it would be some extremist right wing group, even some church.
    I am also wondering why I am even keeping up with this tired, bizarre story that keeps getting weirder.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. humanoid.panda says:

    @al-Ameda: What I find really amusing is that after the New York Times, and not their own media exposed the whole Hillary emails mess, conservatives are able to veer on command, and pretend it is Hillary’s lapdog. I am not a big fan of using Orwell for contemporary topics, but god damn, the GOP operates like the Party- with everyone accepting righthink voluntarily!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    So… to all who object to Caitlyn Jenner’s continued owning of the gold medal for the 1976 Decathlon… Yeah, you are less a man than some women. That’s right, you are her b!tch. Sucks to be you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. rodney dill says:

    It is now safe to say that Caitlyn Jenner will go down as the first woman to have ever won an Olympic gold medal and set a world record in the men’s decathlon.

    I was going to disagree with this statement, but upon reviewing the tense of the verb I’ll agree its technically correct.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    the Rubio/New York Slimes thread

    Gosh, I never realized just how badly conservatives are being victimized. Thanks for pointing this out. It’s so unfair…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. de stijl says:

    Renee Richards must be slightly miffed that everyone has apparently forgotten about her.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. Monala says:
  23. Shonagon says:

    The petition is a fake. It’s a prank played by 4chan. Nice to see you swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0