UCI Masters Track World Championship cycling bronze medalist Jen Wagner-Assali was caught out complaining about her third place accolade in Sunday’s competition after replying to a tweet from a controversial TV personality.
Wagner, 38, commented about her placing after trans woman Rachel McKinnon, 36, an assistant professor of philosophy at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, scooped the prize: ‘I was the 3rd place rider. It’s definitely NOT fair.’
A Twitter user appeared to have a gripe with the athlete’s accolade as she took to Twitter to suggest the McKinnon was not deserving after winning the 35-44 age bracket.
‘I was the third place rider. It’s definitely not fair,’ Wagner wrote.
After a backlash, the Houston, Texas woman who posed with a huge grin as she stood lower down on the podium in Los Angeles, said sorry for her public comment that garnered lots of attention.
‘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,’ she wrote. ‘I made the comments out of a feeling of frustration, but they weren’t productive or positive.’
The winning Canadian athlete was supported by the woman who came second and took home the silver medal.
Carolien van Herrikhuyzen said it was an ‘honest’ race and that Wagner should not have taken part if she had a problem.
‘No one is a transgender to steal anyone’s medal,’ van Herrikhuyzen wrote. ‘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 had initially snapped back, writing: ‘Just because it’s a CURRENT UCI rule doesn’t mean it[‘s] fair or right. And rules can be changed.’
But she later added in her tweets that she should be a better sport.
‘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.’
However Wagner-Assali’s comments seemed to take an insensitive turn as she reinforced her opinion that McKinnon is not female.
She seemed to suggest having the winner take part in the race was akin to having a man compete and contradicted her harsh stance by then seemingly stating she needed to learn from her earlier reaction which did not go down well with those who support the trans community.
‘I’m sure there are men who don’t agree with the USA cycling rule that women can enter their races, which I do all the time,’ she wrote on the micro-blogging site. ‘I appreciate those that have reached out to support me, but please stop directing hateful or derogatory comments toward Rachel or trans people in general.
‘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.’
SOURCE: Daily Mail