Caster Semenya: Controversial South African Star Stunned in 800m Dash

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent IAugust 11, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 09:  Caster Semenya of South Africa competes in the Women's 800m Semifinals on Day 13 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 9, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

South African Caster Semenya came up just short of the gold in the 800-meter dash that many thought she would win, but it was a remarkable performance in many ways. 

First, let me shed some light on the race. Mariya Savinova of Russia took the gold by turning in the fastest time in this event of the year, at one minute and 56.19 seconds (via the Daily Mail). 

That was just over a second better than Semenya, who was closing fast. The South African Olympics Twitter feed congratulated Semenya and tweeted out her results: 

Caster Semenya comes from the back to finish in second place!! SILVER! We are so proud! Time:1:57:23! #OlympicsSA

— Olympic Team SA 2012 (@OlympicsSA) August 11, 2012

That was a new season's best for Semenya and an excellent performance on the biggest stage, which is enough for any athlete to go home with his or her head held high, but there is more to this story. 

Semenya came under a large amount of scrutiny regarding her gender when she burst onto the scene in 2009. These questions persisted until the following year when she was finally cleared to compete in women's events. 

What a terrible and long process for anyone to endure—especially considering Semenya was a teenager at the time. You won't find Semenya talking about this in any quotes. She instead chooses to focus on the races, and hopefully those asking questions keep their queries to that subject.

This young lady deserves that much. She also is well deserving of this fantastic trip to London that has seen her carry the South African flag for the opening ceremony and now win a silver medal with a season-best time. 

At 21, Semenya will certainly have a chance to improve on this silver at the 2016 Games, but in the meantime, she should certainly take the time to enjoy this great performance. 


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