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Sex TestingGender Policing in Women's Sports$
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Lindsay Parks Pieper

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040221

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040221.001.0001

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Is the Athlete “Right” or “Wrong”?

Is the Athlete “Right” or “Wrong”?

The IOC’s Chromosomal Construction of Womanhood, 1968–1972

(p.61) 3 Is the Athlete “Right” or “Wrong”?
Sex Testing

Lindsay Parks Pieper

University of Illinois Press

This chapter discusses how the international tensions that surfaced during the Cold War played a large role in the initial institution of sex verification at the 1968 Olympics. To remove the “wrong” athletes from competition, the International Olympic Committee's Medical Commission mandated a chromosomal test for female participants in the 1968 Olympics. The commission adopted the buccal smear test or Barr body test, which identified chromosomal composition. Chromosomal tests bolstered a false demarcation of binary sex and promoted a gendered hierarchy in sport. Through scientific regulations, the medical commission shaped Olympic womanhood along Western lines of gender and sexuality.

Keywords:   sex testing, Cold War, sex verification, 1968 Olympics, chromosomal test, buccal smear test, Barr body test, gender, IOC Medical Commission, International Olympic Committee

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