He may be one of the great Olympic champions, but when it comes to doping athletes, Michael Phelps is swimming hard against a changing tide.
This week, Phelps is one of several big name athletes testifying before Congress about the problems of doping – and the challenges of not doping – in international competition. A primary frustration, he said, is the fact that some competitors (like himself) are tested excessively, some only occasionally … and a surprisingly large number not at all.
It’s a situation likely to get worse before it gets better, in light of what happened last week in Texas, where Mack Beggs, a girl taking hormones in hopes of becoming a boy, just won the state girl’s wrestling championship. Beggs’ win instantly complicates the doping issue – and casts a long shadow over the landscape of women’s and girls’ athletics.
Beggs, of course, is being celebrated in predictable corners as the new poster child of transgenderism – nothing says “empowerment” like a wrestling title. True, she owes her victory to the same kind of drugs that used to win East German women Olympic medals by the dozens. That kind of doping outraged Americans for decades, and precipitated many of the problems Phelps is talking about. But that was before the Enlightened Ones realized that gender is all in our heads, anyway.
Thanks to Beggs, the playing field for girl athletes has just been unleveled … their options seriously endangered by the not-well-thought-out rush in many quarters to embrace the Choose Your Gender movement.
Inevitably, Beggs’ success and notoriety will inspire other young people to fall for the falsehoods of gender identity ideology. Those infected by her confusion will continue to press for their “rights” … while more girls unfairly lose matches – and scholarships – and opportunities. The new reality, as Melissa Mackenzie writes in The American Spectator, is that many girl athletes will be faced with the choice:
“… to either compete against a boy with biological advantages who perceives himself as a girl or against a girl who is taking performance enhancing drugs and perceives herself to be a boy.”
That dilemma will quickly take a lot of girls out of contention for titles. It will also complicate things for the Olympics, where judges and officials trying to head off doping will be hard pressed to distinguish between those taking drugs for competitive advantage and those doing so hoping to change their perceived sex. Either way, the games and medal counts will be impacted.
That’s only the beginning of the questions to be answered. If you have women-trying-to-become-men running in the men’s 440 hurdles and men-trying-to-become-women in the women’s 440 hurdles, why do you need both races? Or do you now have to create the transgender 440 hurdles, etc.?
And where does that stop?
Professional sports teams will soon face the same conundrum: what will be the point of the NBA and the WNBA, or men’s and women’s finals at Wimbledon, if the sex lines are blurred?
Sadly, even Beggs isn’t satisfied with the fallout of her victory. What she really wants is to wrestle boys – but state athletic officials aren’t allowing that yet. So, for now, Beggs has to either give up wrestling or settle for taking on girls who – thanks to Beggs’ hormone doping – are really no competition at all.
So, to accommodate one young person’s confusion about her sex, state officials, desperate to appear politically correct, are revamping an entire sports infrastructure. Their actions are frustrating not only Beggs, but the other athletes and their parents … indeed, almost everyone except that still-small portion of the population more enthralled with its own vaunted tolerance than the emotional needs of adolescents and physical realities of athletics.
Endorsing doping for Beggs and other confused youth won’t solve the real issues any more than banning these drugs has changed the Olympics. The latter will ever be plagued by athletes who value victory over honor, and fame over integrity. And young people attempting to change their sex will forever be frustrated by their inability to be what they cannot be, no matter how many hormone injections and surgeries they endure.
“I want to be somebody,” Beggs has said. “Somebody who does something – not just a page in a book. I want to be a book.”
A book she may someday be. But in the end, we don’t judge our books by their covers, nor individuals by their preferred physiques. What makes you somebody is nothing an outside “fix” – or even a wrestling title – can accomplish.
If only Texas athletic officials had the courage to help their young athletes understand that.
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