The governing body that oversees cycling competitions will review its transgender athlete policy after public uproar regarding a transgender athlete winning in the female division at a US race, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
The International Cycling Union (UCI) announced on Thursday that it would review the rules that permit athletes to compete as their gender identity and come to a decision in August, according to AP. The announcement comes after transgender cyclist Austin Killips took first place in the women’s division at the Tour of the Gila on Sunday, but makes no reference to the controversy. (RELATED: Biden Admin Releases Guidance Preventing ‘Categorical’ Bans On Trans Athletes)
“The UCI’s objective remains the same: to take into consideration, in the context of the evolution of our society, the desire of transgender athletes to practice cycling,” UCI said, according to AP. “The UCI also hears the voices of female athletes and their concerns about an equal playing field for competitors, and will take into account all elements, including the evolution of scientific knowledge.”
UCI requires transgender athletes that are biological males to record testosterone levels below 2.5 nmol/L for a minimum of 24 months and provide a written statement declaring a female gender identity, according to its rules. Athletes are not required to complete any medical assessments or treatments.
Killips’ victory in the New Mexico competition caused a stir among activists who advocate for barring biological men from women’s sports. Kim Shasby Jones, Independent Council on Women’s Sports (ICONS) co-founder, wrote on Twitter she was “sick” that Killips won prize money from the women’s division.
$35,000 – I’m sick.
The first year women and men have equal prize money in cycling and men took all of it – in both categories.@Martina @Hogshead3Au @mara_yamauchi @ithompsonfdn @megynkelly @Riley_Gaines_https://t.co/IcWFHF9By6
— Kim Shasby Jones (@KimJonesICONS) May 1, 2023
Hannah Arensman, a former professional cyclist, quit the sport after she was beat by Killips at the 2022 National Championships Cyclocross, the Washington Times reported. She told the Times that it was “very disheartening to finish this way” and that “if the rules are not changed to make women’s sports for women, there’s not going to be women’s sports for the next generation.”
“We believe girls and women deserve access to fair treatment and fair competition at every age and every level. Testosterone suppression does not mitigate male performance advantage and therefore should not be a metric used in determining eligibility into the women’s cycling category,” Marshi Smith, ICONS co-founder, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “A protected women’s category based on sex should be the criteria UCI adopts to end the rampant discrimination of female athletes within the sport occurring today.”
UCI did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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