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One small gesture by a high school athlete has launched waves of controversy over the participation of transgender athletes in women’s sports.
On Saturday, Adeline Johnson of Branson High School finished fourth in the women’s 1,600-meter race at the North Coast Meet of Champions of California finals, according to the New York Post.
Second place went to Athena Ryan of Sonoma Academy, who, despite the name, is a man competing in women’s sports under California rules that allow athletes to compete according to their preferred gender identity and not biology.
Because only the top three finishers advance to the California Interscholastic Federation State Track & Field Championships, Ryan is in, but Johnson’s running career is over.
Video emerged of Johnson at the post-race podium ceremony first waving to someone, then making a thumbs-down gesture.
Johnson has not spoken about the gesture, but others did.
The Independent Council on Women’s Sports tweeted the video Saturday, noting how a female had lost an opportunity to a male.
🏃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
“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. Fair rules need to implemented NOW to protect the integrity of Track & Field and other sports,” Darren Marble tweeted, as others agreed with his sentiments.
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.
Fair rules need to implemented NOW to protect the integrity of Track & Field and other sports. https://t.co/rSWNgqTcHn
— Darren Marble (@darrenmarble) May 21, 2023
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