The International Olympic Committee has made its first statement about Caitlyn Jenner's transition to a woman, responding to an online petition requesting that the organization, which runs the Olympic Games, revoke the gold medal Caitlyn (then Bruce) won during the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
In its response to the petition, IOC Communications Director Mark Adams tells Yahoo, "Bruce Jenner won his gold medal in the 1976 Olympic Games and there is no issue for the IOC."The IOC has had difficulty in the past defining the difference between men and women as it pertains to athletic competition. While it's rare, several athletes — mostly women — have been found to have genetic anomalies which place them somewhere in between traditional labels of "male" and "female." In 2012, the IOC announced it would allow transgender athletes to compete against their chosen peers, assuming they meet three criteria: the athlete must have had gender reassignment surgery, the athlete must have legal recognition of his or her assigned gender in his or her home country, and the athlete must have completed at least two years of hormone therapy.
In the day since Yahoo published its initial story about the petition, more than 10,000 people have signed and the petition's writer has expanded the goal to 15,000. It appears to be all for naught, however, as the IOC's statment makes their position pretty clear: Caitlyn Jenner will keep her hard-won medal.
The sports world has, for the most part, accepted Jenner's transition with open arms. Next month, she will be honored at the ESPY Awards with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. It will be Caitlyn's first major public appearance since announcing her transition. That decision also has been met with more than a little consternation online, many arguing that Jenner does not deserve the award, that it should go to Noah Galloway or Lauren Hill. Responding to the criticism, ESPN has said: "The Arthur Ashe Courage Award is meant to honor individuals whose contributions transcend sports through courageous action. Sometimes that courage is demonstrated over the course of a lifetime and sometimes it is demonstrated in a single act that shines a light on an important contemporary issue. At all times, there are many worthy candidates. This year, we are proud to honor Caitlyn Jenner embracing her identity and doing so in a public way to help move forward a constructive dialogue about progress and acceptance."