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23 Feb - "The legacy of Caster Semenya: Unfair Advantages, Equality of Opportunity and The Construction of Categories in Sport" Lecture by Silvia Camporesi, King's College London, UK

The visit of Silvia Camporesi is organised in collaboration with Barbara Zambelli from the Department of Pharmacy and Biotechnology.

Feb 23, 2021 from 05:30 PM to 07:00 PM

Where Online on ZOOM (the link is in the descritpion)

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On September 8th, 2020, South African middle-distance Caster Semenya lost her appeal to the Swiss Federal Supreme Court against the World Athletics regulations restricting testosterone levels in female runners.[1]. This was the last episode of an international legal case which was ignited at the Berlin World Track Championship in 2009, and lasted more than ten years, seeing two legal appeals brought to the Swiss Court for Arbitration in Sport against World Athletics, one in 2015 (CAS 2015); and one in 2019 (CAS 2019). The judgment of the 2020 Swiss Federal Court is also likely to seal Semenya’s track and field career, as there is no higher judicial body for appealing the decision.

While both her legal case and professional track & field career may have come to their conclusions, Semenya’s case has generated an intricate web of unresolved questions for classification in sport centered around the kernel of: What counts as unfair advantage in sport?

In this talk I aim to disentangle this key issue by providing a critical analysis of the legal framing of the key CAS ruling; and by comparing the specific property advantages of Caster Semenya and Eero Mäntyranta, a Finnish a cross‐country skier active in the 1960s with an exceptionally high haematocrit level (60). I will examine whether there is a relevant difference between their property advantages that would justify treating the athletes differently[2]. I will propose the criterion of ‘equality of opportunity’ within the same category as a local criterion of fairness under certain conditions. I will argue that its proper application beyond Semenya’s property advantage requires opening up the discussion on the justification of existing categories in sport. This is, beyond the conclusion of her ten-years legal battle, the legacy of Caster Semenya for international sports regulation.



Link to ZOOM: Click here to access

Silvia Camporesi is Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) in Bioethics and Society at King's College London, in the United Kingdom. Since 2015 she is the Director of the MSc in Bioethics & Society programme at King's College London. Silvia is an
interdisciplinary scholar at heart, with a longstanding interest in emerging biotechnologies and health. She was trained first in biotechnology (University of Bologna) and later in philosophy of medicine (King’s College London). Silvia is also an alumna of Collegio Superiore (2001-2006). After completing her MSc in Medical Biotechnology with a lab-based dissertation on gene therapy at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology at the University of Trieste, Silvia moved to the IFOM-IEO Institute in Milan in 2007 to pursue a PhD in Foundations of Life Sciences and Ethics (2010). The PhD, awarded by the State University of Milan in collaboration with the European School of Molecular Medicine (SEMM), was a unique
programme offering practical and theoretical training in molecular biology, ethics and philosophy of the life sciences. Upon completion of the PhD in Milan Silvia moved to London, sponsored by a Wellcome Trust Fellowship in Health Humanities. In
2013 Silvia was awarded a second PhD in Philosophy of Medicine (2013). Silvia more than 40 peer review articles in a variety of medical ethics, bioethics and scientific journals, and two books – From Bench to bedside to track & Field: the context of
enhancement and its ethical relevance (2014, University of California Medical Humanities Press) and Bioethics, Genetics and Sport (with Mike McNamee, Routledge, 2018). Silvia was recently appointed (2021) to World Anti-Doping Agency Ethics Expert Advisory Group. You can read more about her research here: Contacts: