Katie Archibald says governing bodies have 'let down' transgender athletes

The two-time Olympic track champion criticised the UCI for failing to act sooner in the debate surrounding transgender athletes

Katie Archibald
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Katie Archibald, a two-time Olympic track cycling champion, has criticised cycling's governing bodies over their dealing with the transgender athlete debate, stating it "became sadly personal for one rider" as she blamed the UCI for failing to act sooner in the case of Emily Bridges, a 21-year-old transgender cyclist.

While Archibald voiced her concerns over transgender athletes competing in women's sport, she claims the UCI let Bridges down by making her the centre of the transgender athlete debate. Bridges has faced intense public scrutiny since Cycling Weekly first published her story last month.

Prior to competing in the Nations Cup in Glasgow this weekend, Archibald issued a statement criticising the handling of the situation. 

She stated: "It is my opinion that the international governing bodies of several sports have let down transgender athletes, in particular transgender women, with their inclusion policies.

"These policies have put the athletes, their involvement in sport, and their personal lives under intense scrutiny when all the athletes have done is follow the rules and enter a category they were encouraged to enter. 

"They chose to delay action until it became sadly personal for one rider. That wasn't fair. I have the utmost respect for transgender people and equally respect their right to fair and safe inclusion in sport.

"Global sports bodies, instead of doing the work to create a welcoming and inclusive environment in a category where fairness could be ensured, have put the personal lives of these athletes on to the pages of tabloid newspapers. It's not right and we can't continue this way."

Archibald's comments come after Bridges was due to compete in the British National Omnium Championships at the beginning of the month. However, just three days before the event started, the UCI ruled she couldn't compete, claiming her participation was not allowed was because she is still registered with them as a male cyclist, and therefore cannot compete as a woman until her male UCI ID expires.

As well as criticising the sport's governing body for acting poorly, Archibald also called on national and global sports bodies to develop their policies with the wider scientific community. She claims she also feels let down with the handling of the situation.

"I feel let down by the International Olympic Committee who tell me there should be no assumed advantage for an athlete with a gender identity different to their sex.

"I read this and hear that my world titles, my Olympic medals, and the champions jerseys I have at home, were all won in a category of people who simply don't try as hard as the men. That losing to male androgenisation is not about biology, but mindset. They are wrong.

"I'd like us all to continue welcoming trans athletes into our clubs, our training sessions, and our races. But I'd like us to do all this without sacrificing one of the foundational pillars of sport: fairness."

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1