Later this month, I am speaking at the Crossing the Line Summit being put together by my good mate, Gearoid Towey.
Gearoid (aka ‘Gagsy’) is a four-time Olympic rower and former world champion who founded Crossing the Line because he felt that athletes needed an independent and confidential support resource in preparation for their retirement from professional sport. Having retired after the Beijing Olympics, Gagsy was well aware of the serious issues facing retiring athletes and wanted to help others who need to ‘move on’. If you want to know more about it, and the great names involved in helping other athletes, take a look here.
The Summit, being held on 24 and 25 February at UTS in Sydney, is a series of four panel discussions, along the lines of a TEDx talk.
I’m involved in a panel related to one of my hobby horses – whether we’ve really progressed that much in relation to anti-doping since 1988.
But if you’re thinking that’s all sounding a bit dull – Fuller on his hobby horse again – check-out the rest of the line-up.
It includes the wonderful Greg Louganis who will be appearing via video link. Kim Brennan will be there as will Sally Shiphard, Daniel Kowalski and Dan Vickerman to name just a few.
I am also super-delighted and proud that SKINS is supporting another wonderful human being who has made, and is making, a ‘bigly’* difference to world sport. If you haven’t heard of her, the difference she is making in sport, means that you soon will.
Kristen Worley is an elite Canadian cyclist who transitioned from male to female and has taken on the might of the sporting world – I’m talking UCI, WADA and the IOC – in terms of the policing of an athlete’s gender. Kristen is changing the way world sport defines gender single-handedly.
With some great legal support, Kristen has tackled the issue as a human rights issue. Her claim is that the system is discriminatory both in terms of gender verification as well as anti-doping rules that work against transitioned competitors.
This hasn’t been something that has taken a matter of months or a year or two. It’s been a 13-year battle. But Kristen is now at the point where the international sporting organisations have been ordered by the Supreme Court of Justice in Ontario to turn up at mediation next month.
You probably haven’t heard about it – and there’s a good reason for that, because the likes of the IOC do not want you, me, or anyone else to know. Because it’s potentially huge.
Not just for Kristen, and other transitioned athletes – for whom it is great news – but also for the precedent it sets for individuals and their right to challenge international sporting organisations in the real legal world, outside the cosy world of internal appeals and the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
You can be sure that the IOC threw everything they could, and more, at Kristen before they were dragged kicking-and-screaming to this point, knowing full well that their precious ‘autonomy’ was being challenged.
Kristen is joining us in Australia from Toronto for the Crossing the Line Summit, as well as the Mardi Gras Festival and the Parade, which SKINS will be taking part in with our friends from Team Sydney.
Find out more (including how you can purchase tickets or access the event via live stream) about Crossing the Line here.
Even if you can’t get to the Crossing the Line Summit, I hope you get an opportunity to hear from or read more about Kristen Worley.
It’s been a long, arduous journey for Kristen. But she’s wearing the yellow jersey, the finish line is in sight, and the podium is waiting.
Come along and cheer Kristen with me!
* Just had to find a reason to use this word courtesy of Donald Trump! 🙂