Athletes Jenner’s, Sulaiman’s gender issue
By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.
I WAS surprised to learn that my idol in the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympic Games American decathlete Bruce Jenner, who won the gold medal in the men’s decathlon event, decided to change his gender from male to female. Being his sports-contemporary and ardent fan, I followed his sports career until he finally retired. I was impressed by his effort and determination not only to win the gold medal in the ten-event sport but also to set the Olympic and world record three times consecutively during the 1976 Olympic trials and particularly his last campaign to win the gold.
Born on October 28, 1949, Jenner was a twice divorcee and married three times with six children. Yet, for reasons only known to him, he never revealed that he has been a transgender since April 2015 and announced that he wanted to be known as Caitlyn Jenner, presently a socialite, TV personality and politician.
In fact, the former Donald Trump’s avid supporter Jenner is aiming to run for California’s governorship as the Republican Party’s candidate. But believe it or not, despite his being a woman today, Jenner opposes biological transgender males to compete in girls’ sports. He maintains it’s unfair to the female athletes. Jenner’s statement, as expected, elicited a loud outcry from transgender rights advocates, particularly, the homosexuals, a situation that could affect her election.
What puzzled me most was Jenner’s transition from man to woman, after harvesting gold medals as a man. God gave him that male genitals and he used his male gender to achieve his stardom in sports during his heydays. But after 39 years enjoying a man’s life with six kids, he turned his life around. Who would have thought that he had wanted to be a woman the whole time? Yes, it’s really weird.
Decathlon is exclusively for male athletes combining ten sports with four runs and three jumps (sprints, hurdles and long jumps), and three throws (javelin, discuss and shot put) and all to be contested at track and field. The current world record was established in 2015 by American Ashton Eaton with 9045 points. Eaton also holds the Olympic record together Kevin Mayer both recording 8893 marks held in 2016 and 2004 in Rio de Jainero, Brazil and Athens, Greece, respectively.
Jenner’s gender issue reminds me of our former national track sprinter Mona Sulaiman. Recall how our athlete superstar vehemently refused to undergo a gender test before the opening of the 1966 Asian Games held in Bangkok, Thailand. After being threatened by the Asian Games officials of disqualification if she refused to take the gender test, the Cotabato-born Sulaiman opted to sustain her decision not to be humiliated by the test and chose not to participate in the quadrennial meet despite her being the defending champion in the 100, 200 and 4×100 meters (relay) sprint races in the 1962 Jakarta Asian Games. Many have long speculated (or suspected) her features were more masculine than feminine.
Sulaiman, also the bronze medalist in the shotput event in 1962 Asian Games, served as sports consultant in the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) in 1990 for the national athletics team. She was inducted to the PSC Hall of Fame in January 2016 and died on December 21, 2017 at age 75.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.” MATTHEW 6: 6
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