Caster Semenya

Nike Advert Addresses Semenya’s Discrimination

Nike has done on an advert on double Olympic and triple world champion South Africa’s Caster Semenya to celebrate her success and address her testosterone controversy.

Nike has featured Semenya as part of its 30th anniversary of their famous slogan ‘Just Do It’.

Semenya’s “resilience” to attempts in the past to sideline her from women’s sport underpins her voice-over in the 45-seconds long advert posted on Monday.

Semenya is heard asking:

“Would it be easier for you if I wasn’t so fast?” she says.

“Would it be simpler if I stopped winning?

“Would you be more comfortable if I was less proud?

“Would you prefer if I hadn’t worked so hard, or just didn’t run?

“Or chose a different sport?

“Or stopped at my first steps?

“That’s too bad because I was born to do this.

For 30 years, the “Just Do It” mantra has been a motivational call for athletes worldwide, across all sports, and all levels of play.

Narrated by American football player Colin Kaepernick, “Dream Crazy” provides encouragement to everyone who has crazy dreams and goals that may seem challenging.

Nike says that they hope the series of films will show a “sense of persistence”.

In 2009, Semenya was subjected to sex testing and is currently appealing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the new International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) rules on testosterone levels in female athletes.

The rules, for between 400m and the mile, are scheduled to come into effect in November 1 and would require Semenya to take a  tablet to lower her testosterone levels or look to compete against men.

In response to the ruling, Human Rights Watch published an open letter in which they said that this equates to discrimination against women with “differences of sex development”.

The IAAF has defended its stance, however, and insists they are creating a level playing field.

To celebrate that rich diversity, Nike has developed a series of “short films” in the JDI series.

“Dream Crazy,” focuses on a collection of stories that represent athletes who are household names and those who should be. The common denominator: All leverage the power of sport to move the world forward.

Along with inspirational pros — Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge, LeBron James, Serena Williams, Odell Beckham Jr.,— in this film, you’ll meet incredible athletes who include 29-year-old basketball phenom and wheelchair athlete Megan Blunk, who took gold in Rio in 2016.

Others are Isaiah Bird, who was born without legs, and at 10 years old has become the one to beat on his wrestling team and Charlie Jabaley — an Ironman who made over his life by dropping 120 pounds, by being a vegetarian, and in the process, reversed the growth of a life-long brain tumor.

Michigander Alicia Woollcott, who simultaneously played linebacker and was named homecoming queen during her high school senior season has also been featured.

Additional appearances are made by emerging professional athletes and world champions alike: Canadian soccer star Alphonso Davies; Hawaiian big wave surfer Kai Lenny, American skateboarders Lacey Baker and Nyjah Husto, German champion boxer Zeina Nassar and U.S. Soccer’s Women’s National Team.

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