What is fairness?

“But it’s not fair!” We hear kids saying it all the time when they lose a game or don’t get exactly what they want.  But what exactly is fairness? To me, an action is fair if it is completed with honest intentions and without unnatural, outside bias or assistance. I think many people confuse fairness for complete equality, though.  A competition is fair when the opponents are given equal chances of winning based on controllable, outside forces.  That doesn’t mean that the opponents are equal, though.  Due to natural or inherent reasons, one competitor may have an innate advantage over the other.  While it is true that Caster Semenya does have an edge over other competitors, she does not have unfair edge.  Semenya and her opponents competed under the same conditions, and the competition was not rigged in favor of any one athlete.  Semenya just happened to have natural, genetic advantages that were out of her control yet helped her in the competition.  And as Laura Hercher mentions, “genetic advantages are the norm and not the exception in competitive sports,” (552).  So is it fair that Semenya naturally produces more testosterone than the average female? Yes. Is it fair that the IOC knowingly applies different standards to male and female athletes? No.

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