NBA star LeBron James was track-side in Berlin to visit controversial South African runner Caster Semenya, as she set yet another track record at the IAAF World Challenge.
On Sunday, Semenya set a new record run time of 2:30.70 in the 1000M, and as she stepped off the track, L.A. Laker LeBron James was there for a “thumbs up” photo op, according to IOLNews:
PICS, VIDEO: Caster Semenya meets LeBron James in Berlin! https://t.co/CfhjiyyEuj
— IOL News (@IOL) September 3, 2018
The runner also celebrated the meeting on her Twitter account:
— Caster Semenya (@caster800m) September 3, 2018
While in Berlin, James’ associate posted a photo of the player’s visit to the Berlin Wall near a mural of Ray Charles and Nelson Mandela.
Olympic champion Caster Semenya became a controversial figure after many began questioning her sex as she began quickly racking up record after record in women’s competition on the track. Eventually, she was forced to take a “sex confirmation” test in 2009 to prove she was actually a natural-born woman. Officials claimed the results satisfied them. Those results were never officially made public, but some sources said the runner had unnaturally high levels of testosterone and that she was highly “intersex.”
However, the incident brought intense scrutny on the sport’s rules on testosterone. By 2018 the International Association of Athletics Federation announced rules stating that female athletes with hyperandrogenism, or high natural levels of testosterone, would have to take medications to limit the amount of testosterone in their system so that they would not unfairly overpower other female competitors.
The Olympics also changed its rules on testosterone, but for their part to allow transgender women to compete with natural-born females.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.