Cyclist Calls For Fairness In Women’s Sports After Retiring

Retired cyclocross champion Hannah Arensman is speaking against the participation of transgender athletes in women’s competitions. Arensman’s retirement announcement came alongside her support for a West Virginia law aimed at restricting transgender student-athletes to compete against those of their same biological gender, rather than their identified gender.

This move by Arensman came after her defeat by Austin Killips, a transgender female athlete, during an event last year. Killips secured third place at the UCI Cyclocross National Championships in December, while Arensman finished in fourth place. Another transgender female athlete, Jenna Lingwood, came right after her, claiming the fifth spot.

According to Arensman, Killips shoved her repeatedly during the race and was able to outperform her due to her strength as a biological male.

After the defeat, the former champion retired from the sport, announcing the move in an amicus brief filed in support of the state’s Save Women’s Sports law.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Arensman expressed her concerns regarding the growing number of transgender female athletes participating in women’s sports, describing it as a disconcerting development for the future of the category.

“I realized that if an opportunity presented itself to speak out on behalf of other women, then I would take it. This has gone on long enough, it has gone far enough. It should never have reached this point, it should never have been allowed. Someone has to take responsibility,” she stated.

“This is not fair sport, and the governing bodies, who should have made the rules at the beginning, need to realize it,” she added.

Arensman, who finished in the top five in her final seven races and accumulated an impressive 35 wins throughout her cycling journey, reflected on her last season, recalling that her happiest races were the ones in which she competed alongside biological girls.

“I was racing against people who were biologically like me. I knew that I could give my absolute best, and wherever the chips fell, it would be genuine,” she reminisced.

Arensman empathized with the fear that prevents many from speaking out, saying, “I know countless women who are torn up about this, but they’re too afraid to voice their concerns, fearing potential loss of sponsorship and online harassment—social media being the primary platform for sponsorship opportunities. So, they remain silent, even though they’re infuriated.”

However, now that she has retired, Arensman refuses to stay silent any longer.

“Now that I’ve retired, people don’t really have anything to hold over me and say, ‘If you want to keep racing, you’d better keep quiet… Now I can freely express what needed to be said for a while,” she declared.

While only a few female athletes have spoken up against the inclusion of trans women in women’s sports, Arensman is not alone in the fight. Former college swimmer Riley Gaines, who has also experienced an unfair match-up with Lia Thomas, also constantly speaks against the unfair dynamic as she says she is speaking for every female athlete.