Two Mediocre Males Again Dominate Women’s Cycling Event
In a controversial turn of events, transgender cyclists Tessa Johnson and Evelyn Williamson have once again clinched first and second place at the Illinois State Cyclocross Championships, reigniting a fierce debate over fairness in women’s sports. The victory comes on the heels of their earlier controversial win at the Chicago CycloCross Cup in October, where they also secured the top two positions.
At the Illinois State Cyclocross Championships, 25-year-old Tessa Johnson claimed the first-place position in the women’s Single Speed category, while 30-year-old Evelyn Williamson secured second place. Kristin Chalmers, the sole biological female competitor on the podium, managed to secure third place. Notably, Johnson also earned $100 in prize money for his third-place finish in the women’s half race.
Johnson’s sporting career includes previous participation in men’s categories at Clemson University, but his victories gained significant momentum after transitioning to compete as a transgender female. On the other hand, Williamson has been a consistent presence in women’s cycling since at least 2017, amassing 18 titles. However, questions arose in 2020 when he appeared to compete in both men’s and women’s categories at the Sky Express Winter Criterium, winning first place as a woman but not placing against the men.
The victories of Johnson and Williamson have sparked outrage among critics, with prominent figures such as Post columnist Piers Morgan and tennis legend Martina Navratilova expressing strong disapproval. Morgan called the situation “outrageous” and questioned why more women aren’t standing up against what he termed an “assault on their rights.” Navratilova criticized the transgender cyclists as “more mediocre male bodies taking podium places from female athletes.”
Joining the chorus of criticism, podcaster Megyn Kelly and former NCAA swimmer Riley Gaines voiced their concerns. Kelly labeled the victories as “infuriating,” while Gaines took a proactive stance, offering to compensate any female cyclists who choose to boycott future USA Cycling competitions until rules regarding transgender athletes are reconsidered.
Despite the growing backlash, the organizers of the Illinois event did not provide immediate responses to requests for comment. However, organizers of the Chicago Cyclocross Cup had previously emphasized their commitment to inclusivity and non-discrimination based on gender identity during the October race.
As debates surrounding transgender athletes in women’s sports intensify, the ongoing controversy raises crucial questions about how sports organizations and governing bodies are going to ensure fair competition for all athletes. The broader implications of these discussions extend beyond cycling, impacting the future landscape of women’s sports across various disciplines.