A British women’s shot put champion is facing severe backlash for publicly criticizing plans to allow males who self-identify as women to compete in the female category at international track and field events, arguing that it could lead to a "free-for-all" that would "screw" biological women.
Ohio-born Amelia Strickler, two-time winner of the British national title who has her sights set on Paris 2024, recently told The Telegraph that the "overwhelming majority" of her fellow athletes agree with her but most are too afraid to speak out for fear of losing sponsorship deals and facing the wrath of trans activists on social media.
Strickler’s comments follow a report by The Telegraph that revealed World Athletics intends to allow males to compete against women provided they lower their testosterone levels to 2.5 nanomoles (nM/l) per litre and increase the time period that they must remain below that threshold before being allowed to compete to two years. The final decision is expected to be announced in March.
However, in an interview with The Telegraph, Strickler stated that this would make almost no difference, particularly for a sport like shot put.
"It’s all well and good that [World Athletics] are putting restrictions in on the testosterone levels, and extending the number of years to qualify and so on… but none of that matters," Strickler told The Telegraph "They’d still be miles ahead."
"I mean, the women’s shot is half the weight [of the men’s]. Apart from all the strength they’ve gained over the years, there is the height advantage, the wingspan, all the things hormones can’t replace… hip angles, lung capacity etc. Training would be easier for them," she added. "That’s just a fact. If this happens I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a lot of world records fall to trans athletes."
Advocates for males competing in female sports categories claim that the effect will be inconsequential because there are so few trans-identified athletes, especially at the elite level. But for professional athletes like Strickler, the concern is genuine.
"I am genuinely worried. This is my career. If it comes into effect in March, then by March 2025 that could be me retiring," she said.
"I really think it could," she went on. "Basically all governing bodies right now are under pressure to issue guidelines. We've basically been waiting for it. The fact that World Athletics, one of the biggest, has not [put] its foot down, I think it is really, really upsetting. I think these rules really could open the floodgates."
"There will be a lot, I think, who say ‘Well, I've waited. I'm ready to compete. What do I have to do?’ And you know, women will be out of a job. Even if there are only a handful, do you put the feelings of a few above an entire sex?"
Fellow female athlete Taylor Silverman took to social media to commend Strickler on her bravery for speaking up on the issue. Silverman, a competitive skateboarder who has been vocally opposed to the inclusion of males in female sports, tweeted her support for Strickler and encouraged others to follow her.
The International Consortium on Female Sports (ICFS) also made a statement in support of Strickler. In an open letter shared on social media, the group expressed its appreciation for her courage and honesty in taking a public stand for fairness in women’s athletics.
The letter also confirmed the accuracy of the statements made in Strickler’s Telegraph interview.
"No amount of T-suppression will change physical advantages that a male body acquires through genetics, growth, and development: height, weight, wingspan, joint angles, muscle size, lung size, heart size, blood volume, bone density and over 1,000 variables," reads the ICFS letter.
"You have every right to be worried, along with the vast majority of fellow female competitors in Athletics who are too scared to speak about this threat to their sports careers," the ICFS continued. "The fact that this topic is taboo amongst athletes and coaches tells us everything we need to know about the utter failure of World Athletics to adequately consult and follow the science on this matter."
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