Ricci Tres, a 29-year-old biological male skateboarder that recently won a competition against a field of girls that were on average anywhere between 10 to 15 years younger than Tres, recently spoke out in an interview saying, "I wasn't going to go easy on them just because they're kids."
Speaking with the Daily Mail, Tres recently won The Boardr Open competition in New York City, beating out second-place finisher Shiloh Catori, 13.
'I’m not going to go and be easy on them because they’re kids,' Tres said in an interview on Tuesday. The Boardr Open allowed competitors of all ages and skill levels to compete.
"It’s funny it’s what I am getting beat up over the most, people saying 'you’re beating little kids, little girls,'" Tres continued. "I didn’t intend to do that. This is the first one I’ve been to that I actually wanted to win... the age thing doesn’t really count."
When asked if Tres had a physical advantage over biologically female competitors, Tres responded that the sport came down to still rather than things like strength or speed.
"I don't think I have physical advantage. Look at me. I'm not buff or anything," Tres said. "I don't work out really, I just skateboard. And I don't think skateboarding has anything to do with physicality, especially when you look at kids these days."
Tres noted that children and teens are as much of a competitive threat as adults.
"The whole physical aspect of skateboarding isn’t really there. It’s really the skill level. Any kind of advantage you get is determined by… skaters know… it’s your commitment and determination," said Tres. "If you love the sport, it speaks to you and you find ways to do what you do on your board. If I have any advantage is that I’m extremely determined. But that’s not an advantage. Everyone has the opportunity."
When asked about former University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas, and how skateboarding may be different from other sports, Tres responded that skateboarding isn’t as centered on the performance of a person’s body as other sports like swimming or running.
"I can’t really speak for her and what she is going through but I would say skateboarding [is different]. You have an external source your sport isn’t just solely based on your body like sprinting would be," Tres said. 'It’s kind of like a race car driver. It doesn’t matter what you look like, you can drive the car regardless of your physique."
The Daily Mail also pressed Tres on proposed ways to separate out biological genders and transgender people in sports, like having three separate divisions, but Tres said that these divisions should instead be comprised of considerations for height, weight, and experience, amongst other factors.
"There are so many suggestions. It goes in hand with all the feedback I am receiving. A lot of it is negative, a lot of it is positive. I think it’s all necessary. People can get angry people can get happy and people can come together and come up with something," said Tres. "Personally I don’t think segregating everything is the right way. I feel like that would be calling us different, like a different human race when we’re not."
"I’m not saying this is the right one either but it’s the closest one that I’ve found for some kind of equality, what about some kind of weight-oriented. Something based off of body mass or weight? It’s so difficult when we’re trying to create a controlled group," Tres continued.
"I took all these tests these testosterone tests… it’s a little intrusive. Maybe like something based on weight index or maybe experience – like how long have you been skateboarding? I don’t think that’s the right one," Tres added. "I’m not saying this is the right one either but it’s the closest one that I’ve found for some kind of equality, what about some kind of weight-oriented. Something based off of body mass or weight? It’s so difficult when we’re trying to create a controlled group."
Tres began transitioning at the age of 27, around the same time that skateboarding had officially become an Olympic sport.
Tres submitted an entry to be part of the Olympic qualifiers, but ultimately was not allowed in because Tres’ hormone levels were too high.
After an additional year of hormones, Tres’ levels are now within International Olympic Committee hormone requirements, according to the Daily Mail.
Prior to transitioning, Tres was formerly known as Richard Batres, and was a 2nd Class Petty Officer in the Navy. Tres has three kids, who live across the country in Minnesota with their mother.
Tres came to "the realization" that the athlete is female, after secretly crossdressing for years as a child, according to the Daily Mail.
"It was the thought of the fact that I’ve lived 27 years with these little guilt over random things that I didn’t give myself time to understand like cross-dressing...finally I just came to the realization that I am female, have a lot of female energy and that is what I prefer to be," Tres said.
In regards to Tres’ children, the athlete said that it was for the best.
"You can only ask so much. They’ve been so beautiful and even being away, they’ve begun to develop their own understanding for what it all means. I appreciate the fact that they left because when I began transitioning it was like a process. I had to break down because I had to come to terms with all these things that I didn’t understand before and build anew," Tres said.
"Now that they are away, they aren’t influenced by me. I didn’t want them to be – I didn’t want people to think that because dad’s turning to mom, the kids are going to think 'we should be the same,'" Tres added. "I was in fear of that too – it’s such a terrible thing to assume."
In response to the widespread social media outcry over Tres taking first place, second place finisher Catori put out an Instagram video from a competition in Rome, saying "I’m just skateboarding to be happy. I just want to be happy."
Catori thanked her followers for looking out for her, but added that she was not upset "at all" over the results of the competition.
"If anything, I’m really worried about how Ricci must be felling right now," said Catori. "Skateboarding is a wonderful sport, and we accept and love everyone no matter how they chose to be identified."
Notably, in The Boardr global rankings, Catori is placed 133, while Tres is ranked 839.
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