Former Olympian Sharron Davies says ‘100s of males are stealing places and prizes from females in sport’ in disgust at trans cyclist winning bronze in a race in the US

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Sharron Davies has been a vocal critic of transgender athletes in women’s sport 
  • The Olympic medallist hit out after transgender cyclist won a bronze medal
  • Davies had also condemned a sprinter’s participation at an NCAA competition 

Olympic medallist Sharron Davies has claimed ‘100s of males are stealing from females in sport’ after a trans cyclist won a bronze medal in a race in the United States.

Davies has been a vocal voice against transgender athletes competing in women’s events.

The former swimmer reacted to social media post stating that transgender cyclist Catherine Barnwell had won bronze after finishing third at the Brumble Kermesse Road Race in Rhode Island on Monday.

A photo showed Barnwell alongside the winner and runner-up of the race in the United States.

Davies hit out at ‘disgusting sexism’ by allowing transgender athletes to compete, claiming that ‘places and prizes’ are being stolen from women. 

Sharron Davies has claimed ‘100s of males are stealing from females in sport’ after a trans cyclist won a bronze medal in a race in the United States.

Davies reacted to a post stating that transgender cyclist Catherine Barnwell, right, won a bronze medal in a women's race on Monday

Davies reacted to a post stating that transgender cyclist Catherine Barnwell, right, won a bronze medal in a women’s race on Monday

The Olympic medallist claimed 'awards and prizes' are being stolen from female athletes

The Olympic medallist claimed ‘awards and prizes’ are being stolen from female athletes

Davies wrote: ‘And again… 100s if not 1000s of males are stealing places, awards, prizes, podiums, titles, scholarships & very special character building opportunities, even their dreams, from females in sport across the western world every bloody day now! 

‘It’s disgusting sexism.’ 

The former swimmer who won silver in the 400m medley at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, has previously reacted to an image of trans athlete Cece Telfer participating in a women’s hurdles race.

Telfer, who previously competed as a man, became the first openly transgender athlete to win an NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) title back in 2019 and was running in the Women’s Invitational 60m hurdles in Boston in February. 

The sprinter had qualified for the final of the event, finishing fifth in the preliminary races, but would reportedly go on to disqualify herself during the deciding race.

Davies wrote on X (formerly Twitter): ‘Spot the male athlete in the women’s race! It’s simply cheating.’

A video was also posted of 6-foot-2 Telfer preparing for the race, with the sprinter seen jumping up and down and loosening her joints at the starting blocks.

Davies has also hit out at a transgender athlete competing in a women's 60m hurdles event

Davies has also hit out at a transgender athlete competing in a women’s 60m hurdles event

Images of trans athlete Cece Telfer participating at a women's event were posted online

Images of trans athlete Cece Telfer participating at a women’s event were posted online

Davies wrote on X (formerly Twitter ): 'Spot the male athlete in the women's race! It's simply cheating.'

Davies wrote on X (formerly Twitter ): ‘Spot the male athlete in the women’s race! It’s simply cheating.’

Davies has previously faced backlash from transgender activists who have reportedly targeted her children’s school after she spoke out against the participation of trans athletes in women’s sports. 

The 61-year-old, who has attended 12 Olympic games as a competitor and a broadcaster, backed the decision to prevent transgender cyclist Emily Bridges from racing against female riders. Bridges had been at the centre of a debate following her attempts to cycle against female athletes last year.

Speaking to LBC, Davies said: ‘I don’t think Emily Bridges should be allowed to compete with women. I think she should be allowed to compete, absolutely, and it’s really important we make all sport inclusive. 

‘However, having a female category and an open category enables everyone to do sport fairly. What sort of message are we sending to young girls if we say to them that males are due and worthy of fair sport, but females are not worthy of fair sport. What sort of message is that for any young aspiring athlete?’

The issue of transgender participation in female sports has sparked much debate in the past few years.

Tennis great Martina Navratilova and two-time Olympic gold medalist Daley Thompson are among the former athletes to have voiced their concerns on the debate.

Several governing bodies have introduced policies regarding the participation of transgender athletes in recent years.

World Athletics last year voted to ban transgender women from competing in female international athletic events. 

Telfer previously became the first openly trans athlete to win an NCAA title in 2019

Telfer previously became the first openly trans athlete to win an NCAA title in 2019

Telfer has admitted that the restrictions implemented on the participation of transgender athletes were 'devastating'

Despite that, she added that she was determined not to give up and would continue to race

Telfer had competed as part of the Franklin Pierce University’s men’s track and field teams between 2016 and 2017

The decision was made to ‘prioritise fairness and the integrity of the female competition before inclusion.’ The new rules state that transgender athletes are only eligible to compete in the women’s disciplines if they ‘did not experience any part of male puberty beyond Tanner Stage 2 or before age 12, whichever is later.’

World Aquatics changed its policies in 2022 so that transgender women can only compete in women’s races if they have completed their transition by the age of 12.

Their rules also required swimmers to prove to the federation that they have continuously suppressed their testosterone levels since that time.

To accommodate the transgender athletes World Aquatics set up ‘open category’ for transgender athletes to compete against one another at events.

Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas has sought to challenge those rules at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in a bid to compete at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The debate over transgender athletes participation in elite sport intensified when Thomas became the first transgender NCAA champion in Division I history in 2022. 

Why British Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies (who competed against East German drugs cheats) is arguing AGAINST trans inclusion in women’s sports

Davies claims her father, Terry, was punished because he refused to be silenced about doping

Davies claims her father, Terry, was punished because he refused to be silenced about doping

Between 1975 and 1985, Davies missed out on a string of medals when swimming rivals were encouraged to take male sex hormone drugs by the East German Swimming Federation, thousands going on to suffer organ damage or psychological trauma as a consequence. 

Davies says that there are parallels with East German doping and transgender athletes taking hormone-suppression medication in a quest to win medals in women’s categories. The issue reached the mainstream when trans swimmer  LiaThomas thrashed the female competition and broke numerous records in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) championships in Atlanta.

Bridges, who came out as a transgender woman in October 2020, made headlines in March when she was barred from competing against Olympic hero Dame Laura Kenny in the British National Omnium Championships at the 11th hour by world governing body UCI.

In May 2019, Davies, Dame Kelly Holmes, Paula Radcliffe and 60 top-class athletes wrote to Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympics Committee (IOC), expressing concerns about the inclusion of male-born athletes in women’s competitions. 

Speaking previously to Sportsmail, Davies said: ‘No one ever wants to ban people from sport. It’s not that I don’t empathise with anyone who is transgender. It must be incredibly difficult.  We are only asking to ban people from categories they don’t belong in. They just have to race where their biology fits the category.

‘We wouldn’t think it was okay to put a 15-year-old in the under-ten race. We wouldn’t think it okay to put a heavyweight boxer in with a bantamweight. That’s the reason why the women’s category was invented in the first place. It’s to give women the opportunity to win otherwise we wouldn’t win anything.

‘Whatever your expression or sexuality, sport is there for you. It just needs to be fair. And fairness needs to come before inclusion.’

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In 2022, the NCAA implemented a new transgender participation policy that is aligned with those set out by the International Olympic Committee. Under the rules implemented in 2022, transgender athletes were required to have undergone one year of testosterone suppression treatment to be eligible to compete. 

The rules have since been updated for the 2023-24 season, with athletes having to meet the above criteria and now need to meet the sport-standard for documented testosterone levels before the season, prior to the first competition in an NCAA event and prior to any competition in the non-championship segment. 

At the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Laurel Hubbard became the first openly transgender athlete to compete at the Games, but failed to make a lift in the women’s over 87kg weightlifting event.

Transgender Issues

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