Lance Armstrong has entered the ongoing debate about transgender athletes in sports, and it may not have gone as planned. The former professional cyclist faced widespread criticism for his recent use of transgender athletes as a topic of discussion regarding “fairness in sports” through a series of social media posts. Armstrong, who, yes, we all know, doped for the majority of his career, including his seven Tours de France, was handed a lifetime ban by the World Anti-Doping Authority in 2012. Armstrong’s involvement in raising this issue to promote an upcoming podcast with Caitlyn Jenner has led many to label him a “hypocrite.”
Lance Armstrong believes there should be a more open conversation
In a Twitter post, Armstrong, who claims to have experienced the consequences of being “fired, cancelled, or shamed,” expressed his frustration that conversations surrounding transgender athletes often result in the immediate shutdown of any further discourse.
Have we really come to a time and place where spirited debate is not only frowned upon, but feared? Where people’s greatest concern is being fired, shamed or cancelled? As someone all too familiar with this phenomenon, I feel I'm uniquely positioned to have these conversations. pic.twitter.com/De7xs3PUq3
— Lance Armstrong (@lancearmstrong) June 25, 2023
As you can imagine, that opened the door to a whole lot of people on social media highlighting the striking irony of one of the sporting world’s most infamous cheaters commenting on such a topic while invoking the notion of being “cancelled” as a potential consequence.
Ongoing debate about transgender athletes in sport
The Texan is the latest person to weigh in on the future of transgender athletes in sport. Some governing bodies, such as World Athletics and World Swimming, have disallowed transgender athletes who were biological males at puberty from competing in female categories. British Cycling has recently enacted a similar policy, although the UCI still allows transgender athletes to compete in women’s events. It’s possible that may change.
Following the win at the Tour of the Gila by American cyclist, Austin Killips, who is a transwoman, the international cycling body has stated it will revisit the policy. Killips, who transitioned in 2019, faced a barrage of criticism after her win, despite riding completely within the rules. The issue is being debated and discussed by both athletes and fans. Since Twitter is Twitter, there is little doubt that some of the sudden opinions about the future of women’s cycling could be held by many who have never watched or cared about a bike race until Killips’s win. There are women athletes who may disagree with the policy but understand that it is the rule as of now and accept it.
Discussions should not involve hate
Paige Onweller, who placed second to Killips at the Belgian Waffle Ride South Carolina, said she personally doesn’t agree with the policy but that there is no place for hate.
“I also want to highlight that anger and hate directed towards a person or an event does not accomplish anything. At the current state, race organizers are in a very difficult position. A transgender athlete won the women’s overall, which has caused some controversy. For those following women’s road cycling, you are aware of the UCI rule that this is currently allowed. Rather than sharing my personal opinions about the UCI rule, I think it’s most important to recognize that all athletes, no matter how they identify, should have a space to compete and race,” the post began.
Many posted that Lance Armstrong is a hypocrite for discussing fairness
On Twitter, many posted that Armstrong is the last person who should be discussing integrity in competitive sports, given his tarnished reputation that led to the revocation of all his achievements when extensive investigations finally concluded with his admission of guilt in 2012.
Although there were many that chimed in on his post, Armstrong replied to fellow Texan, Matthew Dowd, saying all he was doing was trying to have a conversation.
Climb down from the high horse Matthew. I'm actually not lecturing anyone rather bringing all sides to the table and inviting rational and open dialogue. And I might add, having a conversation that almost nobody dares touch. If they stream podcasts up in your rarified air, check… https://t.co/QAcHASpG7o
— Lance Armstrong (@lancearmstrong) June 26, 2023
By the way, “Stars on Mars” airs on FOX every Monday. Check your local listings. It’s LOLs.