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Dr. Louis Elsas 1996 Olympic Games gender verification records

Collection number: ahc.MSS1213

Scope and Contents

This collection contains records from Dr. Louis J. Elsas testing of female athletes in the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia, that the International Olympic Commitee required to verify gender. The bulk of material is testing and survey results, some of which include comments by the tested athletes. The purpose of these tests was to exclude cisgender males from female-only competition while preserving the dignity and careers of intersex and transgender female athletes. Other papers include praise and criticism for the project, as well as academic reports on the subject. Of particular note is correspondence between Dr. Elsas and his colleagues on the development of these protocols. Additional ephemera include Olympic memorabilia such as schedules, posters, and newsletters.


  • 1988-2002, undated


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. All requests to publish, quote, or reproduce must be submitted through the Kenan Research Center.

Biographical / Historical

Dr. Louis "Skip" J. Elsas (1937-2012) was born in Atlanta, Georgia, to Herbert (1910-1995) and Edith Elsas (1914-2010). He was a physician, researcher, and professor of biochemistry and genetics. In 1958 he graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor in Science in Biochemistry, and in 1962 he received his Doctorate of Medicine, with honors, from the University of Virgina. He studied international medicine at Yale University, after which he became a faculty member for two years. In 1970 Dr. Elsas returned to Atlanta to establish the Division of Medical Genetics in the Department of Pediatrics at Emory University, where he published more than 190 articles on the topic. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) hired him to oversee gender verification for female athletes at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. Dr. Elsas developed a multi-step DNA testing that determined an athlete's sex, thereby excluding cisgender male athletes masquerading as women from female-exclusive competitions, while reducing the chances of excluding intersex athletes from these events. The IOC stopped requiring gender testing in 1999. Dr. Elsas retired from Emory in 2005 andd in medical genetics at the University of Miami until his death.


1.668 linear ft. (four document cases, one oversize folder, and one 3 1/2" floppy disk)




This collection is arranged alphabetically by titles supplied by staff.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, 2002

Processing Information

This collection was processed in 2021.

Dr. Louis Elsas 1996 Olympic Games gender verification records
Jude Baldridge
July 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305