Olympic gold medallist says trans athletes don’t create ‘equal playing field’

Northern Irish Olympian Lady Mary Peters, who won an Olympic gold in 1972, has weighed in on the discussion around the inclusion of trans athletes in sport.

Peters, 80, said that allowing trans women to play in women’s sports doesn’t create “an equal playing field”.

And Peters, who won her gold medal for the women’s pentathlon at the Munich games in 1972, drew parallels between trans women’s hormone levels and the East German coaches injecting female athletes with testosterone to unfairly enhance their performance in the 1970s and 1980s.

“East German coaches were encouraging girls to take drugs because they wanted success,” Peters told the Sunday Times.

“As a woman you hope that… you can compete on an equal playing field. If a man becomes a woman they still have that testosterone in their body and it is not an equal playing field,” she said.

Mary Peters is the latest former Olympian to weigh in on trans athletes.

Peters is the latest in a string of former Olympic athletes who have voiced their opinions on the inclusion of trans athletes in sport.

Almost all of the former athletes’ concerns focus on trans women being allowed to compete in women’s sports.

Ex-Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies was heavily criticised in July 2019 after she said that “humanity dies out” if you put a “biological male and a trans woman on an island”.

This followed comments she made in March 2019 about not believing trans women should be allowed to compete in women’s sport.

“It’s not a transphobic thing,” Davies told the BBC at the time.

In March 2019, Olympic runner Paula Radcliffe said that trans athletes should be excluded from “elite sports”.

Radcliffe said in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live: “There are absolutely probably hundreds of transgenders who want to take part in sport for all of the other benefits that it brings.

“And all we’re saying is: ‘That’s fine, but not elite sport.'”

Radcliffe’s comments were criticised by world champion trans cyclist Rachel McKinnon, who said Radcliffe was spreading “irrational fear”.

McKinnon, who became the first trans woman to win a world cycling title in October 2018, also said that Radcliffe had ignored factual evidence.

“The rights of trans athletes shouldn’t hang on what any individual says or does,” she told PinkNews.

“Rights don’t work like that,” she added.