Elite female cyclist Hannah Arensman is speaking out after her early retirement due to UCI Cyclocross National Championship officials allowing biological men to compete against her.
Arensman’s loss in a national cycling event to transgender cyclist Austin Killips in December was followed by female cyclist Jacqueline Paull’s loss to a biological male in a Pennsylvania race in March.
Female athletes, including elite swimmer Riley Gaines and high school track champion Adeline Johnson, are speaking out against allowing biological males to compete in events where size or strength associated with gender presents a clear competitive advantage.
Killip’s win bumped Arensman from being selected to participate on the U.S. cyclocross team at the World Championships. The cyclist has filed an amicus brief requesting the Supreme Court vacate a preliminary injunction against a West Virginia law banning biological males from competing in women’s sporting events.
The New York Post reported that Arensman was one of 67 athletes, coaches and family members who signed a petition supporting the law.
Arensman also posted a complaint on Twitter, shared by the Independent Council on Women’s Sports (ICONS):
“I have decided to end my cycling career,” she wrote. “My sister and family sobbed as they watched a man finish in front of me, having witnessed several physical interactions with him throughout the race.”
Arensman added: “Additionally, it is difficult for me to think about the very real possibility I was overlooked for an international selection on the US team at Cyclocross Worlds in February 2023 because of a male competitor.”
In a recent interview with The Telegraph, Arensman stated that changes in competition guidelines must be instated to protect the integrity of women’s sports:
“This has gone on long enough…It should never have reached this point, it should never have been allowed. Someone has to take responsibility. This is not fair sport, and the governing bodies, who should have made the rules at the beginning, need to realize it. The very people who should be protecting our sport are not doing so.”
Arensman argued that allowing biological men to dominate women’s sports is detrimental not only to the competing athletes but also to family members, coaches, teams, schools and others who support individuals — in many cases, for years — in their quest to become the best of the best.
“For my family, it ripped them to pieces,” Arensman told The Telegraph. “I know there are so many women torn up about this, but they’re afraid to say anything for fear of losing sponsors, of being beaten down on social media, the main platform for gaining sponsorship in the first place. So they won’t say anything, even though they’re infuriated.”
Arensman commended swimming champion Riley Gaines for speaking out and encouraged others to follow their example. “Now that I’ve retired, people don’t really have anything that they can pull me back on and say, ‘If you want to keep racing, you had better shut up,'” Arensman said.
“No. I’m done with the sport. I’ve been a cyclist for 12 years, and that’s that. Now I can freely say stuff that has needed to be said for a while.”
Arensman added: “I have a little sister, just 13 years old. With your younger siblings, you feel like you’re in some way responsible to make sure that they’re protected. And I would hate to see her in a sport where she’s trying to compete against guys in her own field. It’s not right.”
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