Tennis great Martina Navratilova took a swing at transgender cyclist Austin Killips, who won a women’s race this week in New Mexico – saying “trans identified male athletes” have no place in women’s sports.
The nine-time Wimbledon champion spoke out after Killips, 27, became the first openly trans woman to win an official Union Cycliste Internationale stage event on Sunday.
“Transgender cyclist Austin Killips wins women’s race, causes outrage- this will happen more and more- women’s sports is NOT THE PLACE for trans identified male athletes,” Navratilova, 66, said in a tweet Wednesday.
Killips, who was sanctioned to compete under the governing body’s rules, won $35,000 after winning the Tour of the Gila stage race in 3:07:16 – ahead of Marcela Prieto and Cassandra Nelson by a margin of 89 seconds.
Killips drew swift backlash for the victory.
“The current UCI rules that allow males to compete in female cycling events are NOT fair to female athletes. Time for UCI to admit this current rule situation is unsustainable and leaving a black mark on cycling as a fair sport for females,” former world champ cyclist Alison Sydor tweeted.
Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies — who last month called for a boycott of Nike over its decision to use trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney to promote its sportswear for women — also slammed the UCI.
“This is beyond disappointing. Those in charge should hang their heads in shame. The UCI is not fit for purpose,” Davies told The Daily Mail.
Killips addressed the controversy with a message on Instagram.
“This win was possible thanks to the community and connections I’ve been fortunate enough to build over the years through bikes,” Killips wrote.
“After a week of nonsense on the internet I’m especially thankful to everyone in the peloton and sport who continue to affirm that Twitter is not real life,” the cyclist continued.
“I love my peers and competitors and am grateful for every opportunity I get to learn and grow as a person and athlete on course together,” Killips added.
The UCI has defended Killips but changed its tune the day after Navratilova’s tweet – saying it will review its rules for trans athletes and “analyze the current situation,” with a new decision expected in August.
Last month, Navratilova also targeted Lia Thomas after the NCAA swimmer went on a podcast and described those who don’t fully support her right to swim competitively in events designated for women as “transphobic.”
“NEWSFLASH Lia- it’s not fair. We shouldn’t have to explain it to you over and over. Also- stop explaining feminism to feminists….” Navratilova wrote.
The tennis legend, who is married to Real Housewives of Miami star Julia Lemigova, has previously spoken out about how she feels the former University of Pennsylvania swimmer has an unfair advantage in the sport.
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