Who is Athena Ryan? Trans Athlete's Win Gets 'Thumbs Down' After Female Athlete Ousted From Finals

Athena Ryan, a transgender athlete, faced backlash from her team mates after she secured second position in the Varsity girls' 1600-meter finals of the CIF -North Coast Section Meet of champions. Ryan was also heard boasting about dropping about 17 seconds in the race.

Athena Ryan
Athena Ryan Twitter

Ryan's Spot Leads to Female Athlete's Ouster in State Finals

Ryan, who competed in the Sonoma Academy's boys' team till 2021, switched to the girls' team following his transition to a female. Ryan now qualifies for the California Interscholastic Federation State Track & Field Championships next week.

However, the trans athlete's second position at the podium lead to the ouster of an 18-year-old female athlete, Adeline Johnson, from competing in state finals. A video of Johnson's disapproval while showing a thumbs down has gone viral on social media.

The video shows Johnson, a senior at Branson High School, waving to the crowd before appearing to make the unhappy gesture of thumbs down. However, it is not clear whether the gesture was meant for Ryan or otherwise.

The Daily Mail reported that while speaking with MileSplit Ryan revealed that she had improved her performance. "I wasn't expecting that. 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," said the trans athlete.

Social Media Reacts

The video which was initially shared by the Independent Council on Women's Sports has garnered a lot of reactions from the social media users.

"Trans-identifying male, Athena Ryan (Jr) took 2nd today in the "Girls 1600m" at a CA State Championship qualifier meet in Dublin, CA. Ryan beamed while 4th place senior, Adeline Johnson gave a thumb down after losing the chance to advance to the State Championships by 1 spot," read the tweet accompanying the video.

"My heart breaks for all the female athletes denied opportunity and acknowledgment of their hard work and dedication to their sport. Any honest person of integrity knows the inclusion of biological males into female sports is inherently unfair," expressed a user.

"Women must stop stepping on the podium in order to protest the cheaters! Do not stand by him! Do not stand on the podium that is a degree below your correct one! Let the cheater stand alone to be jeered! #SaveWomensSports," wrote another user.

"None of those girls should have gotten on the podium with that guy. You boycott the games until the men are out of women's sports. Otherwise you have nothing to complain about. There will be men's sports, and they'll be men who can't compete against other men's sports," wrote a user.

This article was first published on May 22, 2023