A transgender athlete took home a second-place medal in a high school track and field competition in California over the weekend, sparking fierce backlash as the fourth-place medalist appeared to give a thumbs-down.
Athena Ryan finished in second place in the varsity girl’s 1,600-meter run finals on Saturday.
A number of people claimed that Ryan cheated, according to the New York Post.
Adeline Johnson, fourth place, a senior at Branson High School, is seen on video waving to the crowd before appearing to make the unhappy gesture.
🏃Trans-identifying male, Athena Ryan (Jr) took 2nd today in the “Girls 1600m” at a CA State Championship qualifier meet in Dublin, CA.
Ryan beamed while 4th place senior, Adeline Johnson gave a thumb down after losing the chance to advance to the State Championships by 1 spot. pic.twitter.com/iY2InxvhJt
— ICONS (@icons_women) May 21, 2023
It is unclear whom Johnson was giving the thumbs-down to or why, but the clip, posted on Twitter by the Independent Council on Women’s Sports (ICONS) on Sunday, quickly collected over a million views and a flurry of support for the track star who lost a chance to compete further.
“As a former CA state champion high jumper, I think this is complete and utter nonsense. I’m embarrassed for our state and feel sorry for the girls who were cheated in the process,” user Darren Marble tweeted.
According to the social media account WomenAreReal, some women held up a banner at the meet that read, “Protect Female Sports.”
Video of security removing us for having a banner that read “Protect Female Sports.” You can hear in the video how spectators were unaware a boy had just stolen a spot from a girl at the state championship.@SF_TERF_CENTRAL @XxtraEstroGenny @icons_women #SaveWomensSports pic.twitter.com/lRC1UjdhdJ
— WomenAreReal (@WomenAreReals) May 21, 2023
What about the feelings of the girl denied the opportunity to advance?
What about the feelings of the girl denied the opportunity to stand on podium 6?
Don’t their feelings matter? https://t.co/0adNoF8lK5
— Glendale Arizona FOP Lodge 12 (@GlendaleFOP12) May 21, 2023
Everyone that clapped this, and the parents of those that STILL competed, are responsible.
You HAVE to take a stand and boycott. All of you. Not one. Not two. All of you.
This is so unfair. https://t.co/TdfZwlorNM
— Matthew Marsden (@matthewdmarsden) May 21, 2023
Question for the @NCAA, World Athletics has banned Trans athletes, as they should, so how is Athena Ryan already getting scholarship offers , when y’all said you will follow the individual sports guidelines. Wouldn’t Ryan be banned from competing in female sports in college? https://t.co/lGJVPRtmdu
— Sara Higdon (@SaraHigdon_) May 21, 2023
Ryan, a junior, appeared to be undeterred by the protests and controversy. Ryan finished with a 4:55.91 time result.
“I wasn’t expecting that. I dropped like 17 seconds on my season’s best in the past two weeks,” Ryan told MileSplit after the race. “After last weekend, I didn’t think I could run low 5s again. I was just coming here trying to break 5 – just glad I finished it out.”
In April, a transgender runner Glenique Frank beat nearly 14,000 women in the female category of the London Marathon and came under intense scrutiny.
“Nearly 14,000 actual females suffered a worse finish position bc of [Frank],” two-time Olympian Mara Yamauchi tweeted after Frank’s win.
The transgender runner has since offered to return her medal over the outrage.
“If they really think I’ve stolen the place [of a female runner], I don’t mind giving the medal back, because I’ll run again next year for charity,” Frank exclusively told The Post.
Caitlyn Jenner appeared to be outraged after a transgender girl came in second place at the California Meet of Champions race on Saturday, May 22.
“As ‘somewhat’ of a track star myself and a trans person, THIS IS WRONG!!! HELP ME PUSH BACK!” the retired Olympic decathlon gold medalist wrote, adding a link to her political action committee, Fairness First.
“And FYA trans ppl you are being used by the radical gender ideology cult as political pawns. That’s all you are to them,” the ex-spouse of Kris Jenner and parent of their daughters, Kendall and Kylie, continued.
Credit: Fox News, New York Post, BPR, OK Magazine