Female Athletes Rally for "Our Bodies, Our Sports" During USA Cycling National Championships in Knoxville, TN

Petitioning UCI and USA Cycling to Keep Women’s Cycling FEMALE during National Women’s Sports Week

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., June 24, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — During the USA Cycling Pro Road National Championships, which runs June 22-25, Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) and its grassroots Independent Women’s Network (IWN) Nashville Chapter will join the Inga Thompson Foundation and female athletes, coaches, and advocates to protest Union Cycliste International (UCI) and USA Cycling rules allowing male competitors in the women’s division. IWF, IWN, and Inga Thompson Foundation will hold daily Meetups along the course routes and end the week, immediately following the U23 Female/Elite Female awards, with an “Our Bodies, Our Sports: Keep Women’s Cycling FEMALE” rally and press conference at the Title IX pioneer Pat Summitt’s statue and plaza on the campus of University of Tennessee.

“Our message is simple,” said 12x All-American Swimmer and Independent Women’s Voice Advisor Riley Gaines. “Our bodies, our sports. We are standing up for women and demanding the UCI and USA Cycling stop discriminating against female athletes and establish rules to distinguish between the sexes to give women cyclists a fair chance on the road. There’s no equity, fairness, sportsmanship, or opportunity for women to succeed at an elite level without sex-based categories. Allowing male athletes like Austin Killips to compete in the women’s category is an infringement on female cyclists.”

The 2023 USA Cycling Pro Road National Championships takes place during National Women’s Sports Week (June 19-25, 2023). Women’s Sports Week was initiated by IWF in 2022 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Title IX and it will be formally established through joint resolutions later this week in the U.S. House and Senate. Women’s Sports Week was created to celebrate the incredible expansion of opportunities for female athletes since the passage of Title IX in 1972, recognize the role of Title IX in guaranteeing equal athletic opportunities, and champion female athletes of all ages.

At the Pro Road Nationals, American cycling star Chloé Dygert will be competing with her eyes on a spot in the 2023 World Championships and the 2024 Olympic Games. But she is at risk of losing her spot if Austin Khillips, a biological male who has now won several women’s cycling races, including the Tour of Gila, defeats her. Killips is expected to race in Knoxville. UCI and USA Cycling policy allows for biological males like Killips to compete and displace biological women in tournaments.

Inga Thompson, a 10x US National Champion, 3x Olympian, 3x medalist World Championships, and 2x podium finisher in the Women’s Tour de France and founder of the Inga Thompson Foundation, said, “Women’s sports were created for women. Women fought for years to have sex separated sports. No amount of testosterone suppression mitigates the advantages of being born male. Sports exist on the premise of fairness. There is no fairness or equal opportunity in sports for women if men with gender dysphoria are allowed to compete against women.”

Michelle Parker, leader of IWN’s Nashville Chapter, said, “This is our third ‘Our Bodies, Our Sports’ rally in the past year. First we went to Washington, D.C. just steps away from the White House to celebrate 50 years of Title IX and send a message to policymakers to keep women’s sports female. Then we went to the doors of the NCAA Convention in San Antonio, TX to urge the NCAA president, administrators, and athletic directors to stop the discrimination against collegiate female athletes. And now, to Knoxville, TN to protest the UCI and USA Cycling rules allowing men in women’s races and to show female cyclists that we have their backs.”


WHAT: “Our Bodies, Our Sports: Keep Women’s Cycling FEMALE” Rally and Press Conference

WHEN: June 25, 2023

TIME: 1:30 PM ET

WHERE: Pat Summitt Plaza (1600 Phillip Fulmer Way, Knoxville, TN)

WHY: Support top female cyclists and advocate to keep women’s cycling female

Speakers will include:

  • Inga Thompson, 3x Olympic cyclist who competed when there were no women’s teams
  • Riley Gaines, 12x All-American swimmer and advisor for Independent Women’s Voice
  • Paula Scanlan, former University of Pennsylvania swimmer and ex-teammate of Lia Thomas
  • Payton McNabb, recent highschool graduate permanently injured by biological male playing in a women’s volleyball match
  • Barbara Ehardt, former 15-year career NCAA Division I women’s basketball coach; former NCAA basketball player; and current member of the Idaho House of Representatives from the 33rd district
  • Evie Edwards, elite women’s cyclist and the mother of an elementary-age female cyclist
  • Mary Verrandeaux, former U.S. National Cycling Team member and raced the 1985 Women’s Tour de France
  • Taylor Silverman, competitive skateboarder who lost 1st place to a male competitor at the Red Bull Cornerstone Contest
  • Michelle Parker, Nashville, TN Chapter leader for Independent Women’s Network and former youth athlete
  • Jill Savage, BlazeTV contributor and former reporter for Pac-12 Networks and NHL Network
  • Mayor Glenn ‘Kane’ Jacobs, mayor of Knox County, Tennessee, and former WWE wrestler
  • More speakers to be announced…

To RSVP, please email Lynn Hatcher at [email protected]

In addition to the events on the ground, IWN launched a national petition for the public to sign that will be delivered to UCI and USA Cycling. The “Keep Women’s Cycling FEMALE” petition reads in part, “In the world of sports, it is impossible to provide equal opportunities for both sexes without single-sex teams. Women deserve access to fair competition, equal opportunities, training, and victory. Don’t let women cyclists be unseated.”

For more details about the Meetups and Rally/Press Conference taking place during the USA Cycling Pro Road National Championships, click HERE.

For other press inquiries, email [email protected].


Independent Women’s Forum is dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities.


Independent Women’s Network, a project of Independent Women’s Voice, in partnership with Independent Women’s Forum, is a positive, supportive community of engaged, informed, and activated women working together to inspire, interact, influence, and have impact.

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SOURCE Independent Women’s Forum

Female Athletes Rally for "Our Bodies, Our Sports" During USA Cycling National Championships in Knoxville, TN WeeklyReviewer

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