Team USA runner ‘silenced’ over trans athlete concerns
A track-and-field world champion has claimed Team USA ordered her to "keep her mouth shut" about the advantages transgender athletes have when trying to voice her concerns in 2018.
Cynthia Monteleone struck gold in the 4x100m and 4x400m relays at the 2018 World Master Athletics Championships in Malaga, and then in the 400m at the 2019 World Masters Athletics Indoor Championships in Torun, Poland.
On Tuesday, the 45-year-old revealed her own team advised her against complaining about having to compete against trans runners such as Colombia's Yanelle Del Mar Zape, who she faced twice in Malaga including in the semi-finals when Monteleone beat her by just a few tenths of a second.
Monteleone was allegedly told "for your own safety you should probably keep your mouth shut" by Team USA officials before she could lodge a complaint.
Congratulations to this #TrulyAmazing Delta Zeta alumna, Cynthia Monteleone (Xi Theta-UNCW), for becoming a World Champion in the 400m proudly representing the United States of America at the age of 40! #TrulyRemarkable @fastover40 @DeltaZeta_UNCWpic.twitter.com/FPtAbDEUgU— Delta Zeta Sorority (@DeltaZetaNatl) March 30, 2019
Monteleone said "words can't describe how I felt walking up to that starting line in Spain next to a biological male-bodied athlete" in a Facebook live stream with Senator Marsha Blackburn on her Unmuted with Marsha page.
"I don't believe in keeping quiet about something that is so grossly unfair. With the policies that have been given, they are excluding female athletes – biological females," Monteleone protested, while elsewhere claiming that a teammate of hers was pipped to a silver medal by Zape at a World Indoor Championship Meet in April 2019 despite training "harder than anyone I know in the hurdles."
Unlike her mother, Monteleone's daughter Margaret cannot say she has topped a transgender athlete when competing in a high-school event.
"She had to line up for her very first race, after training all year, along [with] a biological male," Monteleone said, claiming the trans runner had blown "everybody away in the first 100 meters" even though she had only trained for a fortnight prior to the meet.
"She deserved to win. She put in the work. But she had no chance because of the biological advantage of this male-bodied athlete," Monteleone said of Margaret's plight.
Monteleone's remarks come at a time when transgender participation in US sports is being widely disputed.
Amid controversy sparked by transgender swimmer Lia Thomas competing in women's events and smashing records at the University of Pennsylvania, the National Collegiate Athletic Association has passed the buck to individual national sporting bodies to have the last word in sync with fresh International Olympic Committee guidelines.