LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) -- Transsexuals were cleared Monday to compete in the Olympics for the first time.

Under a proposal approved by the IOC executive board, athletes who have undergone sex-change surgery will be eligible for the Olympics if their new gender has been legally recognized and they have gone through a minimum two-year period of postoperative hormone therapy.

The decision, which covers both male-to-female and female-to-male cases, goes into effect starting with the Athens Olympics in August.

The IOC had put off a decision in February, saying more time was needed to consider all the medical issues.

Some members had been concerned whether male-to-female transsexuals would have physical advantages competing against women.

Men have higher levels of testosterone and greater muscle-to-fat ratio and heart and lung capacity. However, doctors say, testosterone levels and muscle mass drop after hormone therapy and sex-change surgery.

IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said the situation of transsexuals competing in high-level sports was "rare but becoming more common."

IOC medical director Patrick Schamasch said no specific sports had been singled out by the ruling.


http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/200....ap/index.html