Olympic star Mary Peters charges into trans athletes row The Sunday Times 01.09.19

The original article is here.

Olympic gold medal winner Mary Peters has become the latest sporting icon to raise doubts about transgender athletes taking part in competitions against women.

Lady Peters, who won gold in the women’s pentathlon at the 1972 Olympics, said she did not agree that “people who had changed their gender” and still had high levels of the sex hormone testosterone “could compete on equal terms” with biological women. She drew parallels with the sporting world in the 1970s and 1980s, when East German coaches gave testosterone injections and anabolic steroids to female athletes to boost their performance unfairly.

“As a woman you hope that . . . you can compete on an equal playing field. If a man becomes a woman they still have that testosterone in their body and it is not an equal playing field,” said Peters, now 80.

She recalled “girls who were 100% women who faded from the sport when the femininity test came in. East German coaches were encouraging girls to take drugs because they wanted success.”

Peters was speaking before the launch later this year of her book, Passing the Torch: Sportswomen who Inspire, a collection of interviews with female stars. She said she hoped the interviews would encourage more girls to take up sport and would teach perseverance, determination and the joy and camaraderie of taking part in sport.

Her comments follow those made by other sporting legends about the controversial subject of transgender athletes.

In February, Martina Navratilova, who won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, attacked the “insane” practice of allowing male-born transgender athletes to compete against biological women.

The 62-year-old described it as “cheating”, saying that hundreds of trans athletes had “achieved honours as women that were beyond their capabilities as men”.

Navratilova has apologised for some previous remarks on the subject.

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