Meet Chelsea Wolfe, trans BMX Olympian vowing to burn US flag

Chelsea Wolfe is making history as the first transgender athlete to go to the Olympics. The American BMX rider will be a reserve for Team USA and will do so if one of the two qualifying athletes – Hannah Roberts or Perris Benegas – is unable to compete.

Wolfe qualified for the position in June after earning fifth place at the World Championships.

Last year, Wolfe made headlines on March 25, 2020 when she reportedly said in a since-deleted Facebook post that she would like to win a medal “so [she] can burn a US flag on the podium” due to then President Trump’s administration’s position on transgender girls in sports.

“My goal is to win the Olympics so I can burn a US flag on the podium,” Wolfe wrote. “This is what they focus on during a pandemic. Hurting trans children.”

She recently discussed this, telling Fox News that “anyone who thinks that I don’t care about the United States is sorely mistaken.”

“One of the reasons why I work so hard to represent the United States in international competition is to show the world that this country has morals and values, that it’s not all of the bad things that we’re known for,” Wolfe said. “I take a stand against fascism because I care about this country and I’m not going to let it fall into the hands of fascists after so many people have fought and sacrificed to prevent fascism from taking hold abroad. As a citizen who wants to be proud of my home country, I’m sure as hell not going to let it take hold here.”

Wolfe began biking when she was 6-years-old. The Lake Park, Fla. native first competed freestyle in 2014 in her home state and begin working to compete internationally after BMX freestyle was brought to the Olympics. She spent her evenings riding around her local skate park to train.

Chelsea Wolfe competes in the UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Cup.
Chelsea Wolfe competes in the UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Cup.
Getty Images

When she went public as transgender in 2014, Wolfe said she was mainly welcomed, but some tried to undermine her because they felt her biological sex was an unfair advantage.

“I have to laugh about that,” Wolfe said. “What’s annoying about it is that no matter how hard you work as a trans athlete, people are still going to say, ‘Oh, you have your accomplishments because you’re trans.’”

Under International Olympic Committee (IOC) guidelines, male-to-female transgender athletes have been allowed to compete in the Olympics since 2016, but their testosterone levels must remain low enough for a year, in an “overriding sporting objective [to] guarantee fair competition.”

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