[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/08/20/gender.athlete.intersex/art.semenya.jpg caption="Semenya celebrates her gold, which came just hours after the IAAF called for a gender test on the athlete."]
The case of South African athlete Caster Semenya has sparked worldwide interest following reports that she will be tested by sporting officials to determine whether she is male or female.
The 18-year-old won gold in the 800 meters race Wednesday but she may be forced to return the medal if she fails a gender-verification test imposed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
According to media reports, the IAAF are testing to see whether Semenya has a rare genetic disorder that means she has female genitalia but male chromosomes.
This condition, known as intersex, is commonly referred to as hermaphroditism. (Some support groups say that the term "hermaphroditism" can be inaccurate and offensive, as it implies that someone is both fully male and fully female, which is a physiologic impossibility.)
Filed under: Gender and Politics
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