The U.S. Olympic marathon trials have accepted the first transgender runner in the history of the event.
Megan Youngren, 29, a biological male who identifies as a transgender female will compete in the trials as a female, according to the Daily Mail.
Youngren, who reportedly came out as transgender in 2012, is set to compete against 63 biological women for a spot on the 2020 U.S. Olympics team for this year’s Summer Games.
“I’m open to talking about it to people because that’s the only way you make progress on stuff like this,” Youngren recently said. The runner finalized paperwork for the transition to female in 2019.
In 2019, Youngren completed the Los Angeles Marathon in 3:06:42 and felt that completing the race in under three hours time is possible. So, Youngren jumped into a strict training regimen. Success brought greater ambition and, eventually, Olympic dreams.
Last December, Youngren finished 40th at the California International Marathon, completing the course in 2:43:52, giving the runner an opening to join the Olympic trials.
“I thought that if I worked incredibly hard and took some huge risks that I could run a 2:45,” Youngren said. “People will try to put it down by saying, ‘That’s too easy because you’re trans.’ But what about the 500 other women who will qualify? There’s probably someone with the exact same story. I trained hard. I got lucky. I dodged injuries. I raced a lot, and it worked out for me. That’s the story for a lot of other people, too.
“I have done everything by the book, and I can show that,” Youngren added.
Youngren is not the only trans person with the Olympics.
Chris Mosier already became the first transgender athlete to join Team USA after qualifying for the sprint duathlon men’s team for the 2016 World Championship. Mosier was born a woman but now identifies as male. Mosier also already qualified to compete in the Olympic trials for the men’s 50km race walk.
USATF has defended its inclusion of the trans athletes and said it follows the International Olympic Committee’s rules for transgender athletes. Currently, a transgender female athlete must have testosterone below ten nanomoles per liter for at least 12 months before competition and must remain below that threshold during the period of competition. The IOC, though, recently considered changing its rules for transgender athletes, but the organization’s negotiations broke down.
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