The Olympics are traditionally a time when Americans come together under a shared sense of patriotism and love of country. But for one U.S. Olympic athlete, the dream of standing on the winner's podium would mean an opportunity to express the exact opposite.
In a Facebook post last year, unearthed by Fox News, transgender BMX freestyle rider Chelsea Wolfe declared that being able to set fire to the American flag in protest while on the podium was the motivating factor driving them to accomplish their dream.
"My goal is to win the Olympics so I can burn a US flag on the podium. This is what they focus on during a pandemic. Hurting trans children," wrote Wolfe, who qualified to be an alternate for this year's Olympic games in Tokyo, Japan, wrote on March 25, 2020.
Included underneath Wolfe's text was a link to a PinkNews story titled, "Trump administration officially declares it believes trans girls should be treated as 'biological males.'"
In conversation with Fox News, Wolfe explained that the since-deleted post was not intended to convey a disdain for America. Rather, it was an attempt to "take a stand against fascism":
"Anyone who thinks that I don't care about the United States is sorely mistaken," Wolfe told Fox News. "One of the reasons why I work so hard to represent the United States in international competition is to show the world that this country has morals and values, that it's not all of the bad things that we're known for. I take a stand against fascism because I care about this country and I'm not going to let it fall into the hands of fascists after so many people have fought and sacrificed to prevent fascism from taking hold abroad. As a citizen who wants to be proud of my home country, I'm sure as hell not going to let it take hold here."
Wolfe, who was born a biological male, if given the chance will compete as a female in the upcoming games in Japan.
Earlier this month, in an Instagram post announcing their acceptance as an alternate, Wolfe discussed her journey as a transgender BMX rider.
"I searched for so long trying to find out if there had ever been a professional trans bmx rider to show me that who I am would be okay and unfortunately I found no one. I had the badass cis women inspire me but there was always a disconnect," Wolfe said. "Eventually I started to meet some amazing women who helped me accept that I am a woman just like any other and that I deserve a place to exist in the world just like everyone else."
In order to compete as a transgender female athlete, the International Olympic Committee specifies that athletes must declare that their gender identity is female and cannot change that declaration for at least four years.
As part of an effort to maintain "fair competition," the athlete must also test under specified testosterone levels at least 12 months prior to competitions.