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Transgender runner found to be ineligible for Olympic trials for women's track

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Image source: Twitter/OTLonESPN video screenshot

Transgender runner CeCe Telfer just got word that this year's Olympics are not in the cards, having been ruled ineligible to compete in the 400-meter hurdles for not meeting the World Athletics regulations for eligibility, the Associated Press reported Wednesday night.

Who is this?

Telfer, who was born a male, is best known for easily winning the women's NCAA Division II 400-meter hurdles in 2019.

Image source: Twitter/OTLonESPN video screenshot

The runner formerly known as Craig competed on the Franklin Pierce University men's track team just a year earlier before taking a break and transitioning to a female. Telfer was considered an above-average male hurdler, Turtleboy Sports said, but with women's hurdles being lower, the athlete was soon dominating the women's competition.

Though the NCAA has a policy that requires biological males to suppress testosterone levels for a full year before competing in women's events, the league declared that is is not accurate to merely assume that a male who has transitioned to female has an unfair advantage over a biological female.

Telfer agrees with the NCAA's logic and told ESPN that "if anything, me competing against cisgender females is a disadvantage."

"Being on hormone replacement therapy [results in] muscle depletion," Telfer said, adding, "your muscles are deteriorating. You lose a lot of strength because testosterone is where you get your strength, your agility."

What's happening with the Olympic trials?

But the track star has not met the transgender female requirements necessary to compete in next month's Tokyo Olympics, the AP said.

According to World Athletics guidelines, transgender females are not eligible for international women's events between 400 meters and one mile if their testosterone levels have not been below 5 monopoles per liter for a 12-month span.

USA Track & Field, the U.S. governing body for the sports of track and field, cross country, and road running said that athletes must meet the requirements to be a member of the U.S. Olympic team in order to be eligible to take part in the trials. Those eligibility requirements are governed by World Athletics.

More from USATF, via the AP:

Following notification from World Athletics on June 17 that the conditions had not yet been met, USATF provided CeCe with the eligibility requirements and, along with World Athletics, the opportunity to demonstrate her eligibility so that she could compete at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. According to subsequent notification to CeCe from World Athletics on June 22, she has not been able to demonstrate her eligibility.

The USATF said that though it "strongly supports inclusivity and providing a clear path to participation in the sport for all," it also must maintain "competitive fairness."

Telfer's manager, David McFarland, said the runner would respect the decision and will focus on the future and continue to train.

"She will compete on the national — and world — stage again soon," McFarland said, the AP reported.

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