Transgender Women's Cycling 'Champion' Accuses Female 'Loser' of 'Poor Sportsmanship'
Canadian trans cyclist Rachel McKinnon attacks defeated woman for 'not linking arms'
Biological male transgender cyclist Rachel McKinnon, who crushed the competition in the women's world championships to win gold and smash the world record, has blasted a defeated female competitor for "poor sportsmanship."
37-year-old McKinnon soared to "victory" in the 35-39 age category sprint at the Masters Track World Championships in Manchester, UK, on Saturday, taking the top spot for a second year running after winning the gold medal in Los Angeles last year.
However, the "win" has been met with controversy as many accuse Dr. McKinnon, who is only a part-time cyclist, of having an unfair advantage over the biological female competition.
After taking home the gold, McKinnon slammed a defeated fellow competitor, Dawn Orwick, accusing the full-time American cyclist of refusing to link arms on the winners' podium, instead opting to stand with her left arm behind her back.
McKinnon said: "Third place, Kristen, wore my 'sport is a human right' sticker as a sign of solidarity.
"Second place kept her distance and put her hand behind her back as her own sign - Signifying something like poor sportsmanship."
The Daily Mail contacted Dawn Orwick for comment but she hasn't spoken out against McKinnon's win or made a comment about transgender athletes competing against women who were born female.
However, other "cisgender" (someone who 'identifies' with the gender they were born with) women who have been beaten by McKinnon have said the born-male athlete has an unfair advantage.
After McKinnon's first world record win last year, the third-place finisher, Jennifer Wagner, said losing to a biological man in a women's event was "unfair."
McKinnon hit back by pointing out that the pair have cycled against each other 13 times and McKinnon has only won twice.
McKinnon only started a sports career after transitioning in 2012 and has been criticized ever since by pressure groups and top sportswomen.
They say she having a 6ft muscular frame, inherited from being a male, gives McKinnon more muscle mass and therefore an "unfair advantage."
Among her critics are pressure groups Fair Play for Women and Save Women’s Sports, Martina Navratilova, an athlete who was beaten by McKinnon last year and a leading women's cyclist.
Top British cyclist Victoria Hood also criticized McKinnon, saying that transgender status gives trans athletes an unfair advantage against women who are born biologically female.
She said: "The science is there. The science is clear – it tells us that trans women have an advantage."
"It is a human right to participate in sport.
"I don't think it's a human right to identify into whichever category you choose."
Dr. McKinnon started "identifying" as a transgender woman in 2012 and began competing in cycling events in 2015 - rapidly rising to the top of the sport.
The first record smashed by McKinnon was in the 200m sprint at last year's UCI Masters World Track Cycling Championship where the doctor also won the event in the 35-44 age bracket.
Dr. McKinnon responded to Ms. Wood's comments, saying:
"We are either full and equal women, or not."
A biological male #transgender cyclist, who soared to victory to take the gold medal in the women's event at the #MastersTrackWorldChampionships on Sunday, has spoken out to defend the win.— Neon Nettle (@NeonNettle) October 22, 2019
READ MORE: https://t.co/FcUQXp0WpJ
In December last year, Dr. McKinnon clashed with women's tennis great Martina Navratilova who said that allowing transgender women to compete in sport against people born as women was "insane" and "cheating."
McKinnon called her "transphobic" and Navratilova responded: "McKinnon has vigorously defended her right to compete, pointing out that, when tested, her levels of testosterone, the male hormone, were well within the limits set by world cycling’s governing body.
"Nevertheless, at 6ft tall and weighing more than 14 stone, she appeared to have a substantial advantage in muscle mass over her rivals."
After last year's UCI Masters Track Cycling World Championships in Los Angeles, the third-place finisher, Jennifer Wagner, said losing to Dr. McKinnon was "unfair."
In March this year Paula Radcliffe, who has held the Women's World Marathon Record since 2003, said: "There are absolutely probably hundreds of transgenders who want to take part in sport for all of the other benefits that it brings.
"And all we’re saying is: 'That’s fine, but not elite sport'."
McKinnon then accused Radcliffe of spreading "irrational fear."
She said: "I believe there is a fundamental difference between the binary sex you are born with and the gender you may identify as.
"To protect women’s sport, those with a male sex advantage should not be able to compete in women’s sport."
McKinnon hit back at Davies by calling her a transphobe and accusing her of "sharing hate speech."
She said: "There is no debate to be had over whether trans women athletes have an unfair advantage: it’s clear that they don’t.
"Since the Nov 2003 IOC policy openly allowing trans women to compete, not a single trans athlete has even qualified for the Olympics, let alone won a medal."
British Olympics gold medal winner Dame Kelly Holmes spoke out earlier this year against transgender women being allowed to compete against people who were born biologically female.
And in response, McKinnon tweeted to call her "extremely transphobic" before blocking the two-time Olympic gold medallist on Twitter.
Holmes responded by saying: "If this subject is open to debate then why have I been blocked.
"As far as I am concerned you are going about this in the wrong way.
"Calling me transphobic is just ridiculous - far from it.
"I have an opinion you don’t like that’s that!"
British cyclist Victoria Hood continued her criticism of McKinnon by saying: "The world record has just been beaten today by somebody born male, who now identifies as female, and the gap between them and the next born female competitor was quite a lot.
"The world record was two-tenths of a second. I know that doesn't sound like a lot but it is.
"The gap between them and the next female competitor was four-tenths, which to put into perspective in a sprint event like this, that would be 15m of the track when sprint events are usually won by centimeters."
A statement was released on behalf of McKinnon that, again, went on to reference trans-phobia: "Dr. McKinnon supports trans people's rights to compete in their legally recognized gender.
"Fairness in sport means inclusion and respect of every athlete's rights and identity."
Transgender athletes have been allowed to compete in the Olympics since 2004 if they have undergone gender confirmation surgery and been on hormone therapy for two years.
In 2015, these rules were relaxed to remove the need for surgery and athletes must now have a testosterone level below 10nmol/L for at least 12 months prior to their first competition.
Athletics' governing body the IAAF had the same requirements until last Monday when they announced that female athletes must have a testosterone level below 5nmol/L.
The maximum level of testosterone allowed was supposed to be cut in half prior to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, but the International Olympic Committee can’t come to an agreement and the guidelines have yet to be released.
After concerns about transgender athletes having an advantage in the Rio 2016 Olympics, Karolinksa Institute in Sweden conducted research that suggested testosterone suppression for transgender women has little effect on reducing muscle strength.