Olympian Sharron Davies: ‘We can’t let another generation lose’ | Other | sport

The swimming star welcomed Boris Johnson’s intervention on the matter and said: “We can’t pretend biology doesn’t exist – female athletes deserve fairness.”

She said the doping scandal in the German Democratic Republic had highlighted how important biological advantages could play. In the 1970s, East Germany routinely doped its athletes, with women receiving anabolic steroids that androgenized them.

The country overtook the United States to become the strongest women’s Olympic nation in the pool and dominated women’s sport, robbing legitimate athletes of medals and livelihoods.

Davies said: “My generation lost. I had swimming friends who came fourth behind three East Germans and nobody knows their names.

“Their whole life would have been very different if the IOC [International Olympic Committee] had done its job.

“I know firsthand how frustrating it is – knowing how good you are, how hard you train…

“You can’t give a 5-10% advantage when races are won to 100ths of a second.

“East Germany have won 90% of the women’s events and hardly any of the men’s events.

“I speak because I don’t want another generation to lose.” The problem came to a head after trans swimmer Lia Thomas won the National College Championships in the United States last month.

In the UK, trans cyclist Emily Bridges has been barred from a race by governing body UCI.

Bridges was part of British Cycling’s Under-21 team as a male rider, but started hormone therapy last year and now wants to compete in women’s events.

On Friday, British Cycling banned transgender riders from competing in national events.

This follows the Prime Minister’s statement last week: “I don’t think biological men should compete in women’s sporting events.”

Davies won silver for Great Britain at the 1980 Moscow Olympics behind East German Petra Schneider who has since admitted doping. She said: “I’m not anti-trans. I have friends who are transgender and I know parents whose children are transgender.

Trans men and women should all be able to live in peace and safety, as we all should.

“However, I am pro-women’s sports and pro-equity. Our biological sex will be the same from the day we are born until the day we die. Your DNA is in every cell of your body. Bodies play sports, not feelings.”

She continued: “People in sport are afraid to express themselves.

“Trans activists try to get them fired if they do. They call charities they’re affiliated with, they call their colleges, they contact their workplaces, their sponsors.

“A small minority of activists are doing most trans people no favors who just want to get on with their lives.”

However, pro-trans groups argued there was no benefit for trans athletes – and say the results proved it. Stonewall, Europe’s largest LGBTQ+ rights organisation, called the row over trans athletes a “manufactured moral panic”.

Naomi C. Amerson