Transgender runner CeCe Telfer’s Olympic dreams have been put on hold.
A huge debate has been triggered after she was ruled ineligible to compete in the women’s 400-meter hurdles, which is her signature event, at the U.S. Olympic trials for not meeting the World Athletics eligibility regulations for certain women’s events, according to the Associated Press.
Telfer is heartbroken as she would have made history as the world’s first openly transgender athlete to ever compete in an Olympic event.
Telfer was previously listed as a qualified athlete for Friday’s opening competitions, but she was missing from Wednesday’s events.
In 2019, World Athletics released new guidelines that cut off international women’s events between 400 meters and a mile to athletes whose testosterone levels were at 5 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) or more.
So, to be eligible to compete for an event under these requirements, Telfer would’ve had to suppress her testosterone levels below the 5 nmol/L thresholds and sustain them for at least a year… something that would have been pretty difficult.
On Wednesday, after the news, Telfer’s manager, David McFarland, said in a statement that Telfer won’t give up on her Olympic dreams despite the unfortunate outcome.
“CeCe has turned her focus towards the future and is continuing to train. She will compete on the national – and world – stage again soon,” McFarland told AP.
According to USATF (USA Track and Field) in a separate statement, “Following notification from World Athletics on June 17 that the conditions had not yet been met, USATF provided CeCe with the eligibility requirements and, along with World Athletics, the opportunity to demonstrate her eligibility so that she could compete at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. According to a subsequent notification to CeCe from World Athletics on June 22, she has not been able to demonstrate her eligibility.”
USATF stated that they “strongly support inclusivity and providing a clear path to participation in the sport for all, while also maintaining competitive fairness.”
“If CeCe meets the conditions for transgender athlete participation in the future, we wholeheartedly back her participation in international events as a member of Team USATF,” the statement concluded.
Telfer competed for the men’s team at Franklin Pierce University before she took time off and later returned to compete for the women’s team.
In 2019, Telfer became the first openly transgender woman to win an NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) title. At the time, she was a fifth-year senior at Franklin Pierce.
Telfer’s led a pretty impressive life so far and she’s a role model to many…
But in a tweet shared by NBC Washington, people agreed that she should not compete. “Transgender women should not be allowed in women’s sports… they should have their own division,” one person tweeted.
But her Instagram followers are beyond supportive of her ambitions!
“I’m so glad you’re here” one person wrote. “Yes!!!!! Loving this visibility!!!” another said.
Regardless of what happens, we hope CeCe will be able to fulfill her Olympic dreams in some shape or form!
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