Jen Wagner-Assali, UCI Masters Track World Championship cycling bronze medalist, was spotted complaining about her third-place award in the competition when she replied to a Twitter user.
38-year-old Wagner commented about her placing third place as 36-year-old Rachel McKinnon, an assistant professor of philosophy at the College of Charleston, won the world championship.
Wagner commented: “I was the 3rd place rider. It’s definitely NOT fair,” suggesting that the trans woman who scooped the prize was not deserving after winning the 35 to 44 age bracket.
Her public comment gained lots of attention. After receiving criticisms, Wagner apologized for what she said.
She wrote: “After having some time to reflect, I realize my twitter comments earlier this week unintentionally fanned the flames on a controversial situation, and that I regret. I made the comments out of a feeling of frustration, but they weren’t productive or positive.”
The Canadian woman who got the ultimate prize was supported by the woman who came second as they were good friends.
Carolien van Herrikhuyzen said that the event was an ‘honest’ race and that the Texas woman shouldn’t have taken part if she already had some issues.
Van Herrikhuyzen wrote: “No one is a transgender to steal anyone’s medal. We had an honest race under UCI rules. If you compete you accept the rules, otherwise, don’t compete. I can only imagine what she had to go through in her life to be where she is now, how hard it is to fit in.”
Wagner snapped back and wrote: “Just because it’s a CURRENT UCI rule doesn’t mean it(‘s) fair or right. And rules can be changed.”
The third placer then added: “They were just inflammatory, and that’s not who I want to be or am. While I may not agree with the rules, when I pin on a number I agree to race by them. I also respect @rachelvmckinnon ‘s right to compete within the rules.”
Wagner added: “At the end of the day, we are all just people trying to find our way in this world. I’m going to continue educating myself and hope this conversation continues in an open and positive way.”
McKinnon expressed her thoughts when her competitor threw another insult by telling her followers she was planning to fight the inclusion of trans women in their races.
Wagner also tweeted: “For those of you who think I have “folded” I have not. There’s a group of us working on getting the rules changed but we are going to fight it offline, not in the name-calling angry world of social media. I’m choosing to move on in a positive way.”
McKinnon retweeted her tweet and told her followers: “This is why the apology is not accepted: she still thinks what she said. She merely apologizes for being caught saying it publicly. She wants to ban trans women from competing. They will fail: the IOC openly allowed us in 2003 and revised their policies in 2015. #MoveOn”
She added: “I’ve been humiliated, they make me feel unwelcome at races, and saying that it’s unfair (when I follow all the rules) is degrading and disparaging.”
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