Team USA might have its first out transgender Olympic teammate.
BMX freestyler Chelsea Wolfe's strong showing in a pivotal competition this week appears to have secured her a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team. Wolfe placed fifth in the BMX Freestyle Park finals at the UCI Urban World Championships in Montpellier, France, Monday, which placed her third overall in the U.S. Team rankings and should be enough to earn her a place as an alternate on the team. Wolfe would be the first transgender athlete to earn a spot on the U.S. roster. She told Karleigh Webb of OutSports she's slowly growing excited at the prospect of competing but is also aware of the historic nature of the moment.
"It's honestly slowly processing little by little how exciting that is," Wolfe told Outsports. "I don't think I've fully wrapped my head around how exciting it is, and how incredible it is to make it so far with this wild dream of mine that I've dedicated my life to for the past five years."
The 28-year-old Florida native told Webb she brings a message of validation with her success, that all lives are "valuable and valid," and that everybody is entitled to their equal rights.
If Wolfe is selected as an alternate, she would join Hannah Roberts and Perris Benegas on the team, who are currently ranked first and second. Roberts won the BMX Freestyle Park world championship title on Monday, while 2018 champ Benegas placed fourth.
Roberts married her wife earlier this year, posting to social media and saying she was "blessed [to] be beginning a forever" with Kelsey Miller and was looking forward to the love they will be "building together."
It's been a long road for Wolfe, but she told Webb she hopes folks can find strength in their identity, even in the most hostile of times, in the way she has used the hate and adversity to fuel her drive to be the best.
"If you can live life openly as yourself in a world so hostile to your existence, then you already have the strength of a champion," Wolfe said.
RELATED | Champion Runner, Nikki Hiltz, Comes As Trans and Nonbinary