Transgender athlete claims 2nd place in Calif. high school track meet


A transgender athlete took home a second-place medal in a crucial high school track and field competition in California over the weekend, sparking fierce backlash — as the fourth-place medalist appeared to give a thumbs-down at the podium.

Athena Ryan, a junior from Sonoma Academy, claimed the silver medal in the varsity girl’s 1,600-meter run during the North Coast Meet of Champions of California finals on Saturday.

Ryan, who is a transgender female, now qualifies for the California Interscholastic Federation State Track & Field Championships next week after finishing in the top three.

The high school track star who claimed fourth place — losing a shot to compete at the state championships — appeared to give a thumbs down to spectators during the podium placement ceremony in Dublin, California.

Adeline Johnson, a senior at Branson High School, is seen on video waving to the crowd before appearing to make the unhappy gesture.

It is unclear who Johnson was giving the thumbs-down to or why, but the clip, posted on Twitter by the Independent Council on Women’s Sports (ICONS) on Sunday, quickly collected over a million views and a flurry of support for the track star snubbed out of a chance to compete further.

“As a former CA state champion high jumper, I think this is complete and utter nonsense. I’m embarrassed for our state and feel sorry for the girls who were cheated in the process,” user Darren Marble tweeted.

The Post has reached out to Branson High School and Sonoma Academy for comment.

ICONS, which describes itself as a network of women athletes and our supporters advocating for female-protected categories in sport, mistakenly refers to Ryan as a “trans-identifying male” in its tweet, as the athlete is a trans-identifying female.

Meanwhile, during the track meet, protesters were seen holding signs saying “protect female sports” before they clashed with security at the stadium and were removed from the grounds, according to the group.

Video shared on its Twitter account captures a spectator confronting protesters holding a banner reading, “Protect women’s sports.”

The woman is seen yelling, “That is disgusting. I find that f–king offensive,” before moving along.

Another video from the track meet tweeted by activist organization WomanAreReal captures the moment security chased down the protesters and removed them from the area.

“They’re kicking us out because we care about women and girls,” a protester proclaims as the group was escorted off the grounds.

A security guard was heard responding, “That’s not what we’re doing. I’m an activist myself. You can’t do that.”

Ryan — who finished with a 4:55.91 run time — hopes to “have fun” at the State Championship next week.

“I dropped like 17 seconds on my season’s best in the past two weeks. After last weekend, I didn’t think I could run low 5s again. I was just coming here trying to break 5 – just glad I finished it out,” Ryan told MileSplit after the race.

The California Interscholastic Federation enacted its ‘Gender Identity Participation’ rules in 2013, stating, “All students should have the opportunity to participate in CIF athletics and/or activities in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity.”

The rules also state that student-athletes “will participate in programs consistent with their gender identity or the gender most consistently expressed.”

Once granted eligibility, student-athletes are not required to renew each school year.

In April, a transgender runner Glenique Frank beat nearly 14,000 women in the female category of the London Marathon and came under intense scrutiny.

“Nearly 14,000 actual females suffered a worse finish position bc of [Frank],” two-time Olympian Mara Yamauchi tweeted after Frank’s win.

The transgender runner has since offered to return her medal over the outrage.

“If they really think I’ve stolen the place [of a female runner], I don’t mind giving the medal back, because I’ll run again next year for charity,” Frank exclusively told The Post.

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