Michelle Dumaresq is a professional downhill mountain bike competitor and post-operative male-to-female (MTF) transwoman. She is from Canada and competes with other professional female downhill mountain bike racers. She entered the sport in 2001, six years after completing SRS, when she was discovered riding on Vancouver's North Shore by several top women mountain bikers. Dumaresq was quite open about her history as a transwoman. The women, who were filming an independent film on female mountain bike riding, suggested Dumaresq consider racing and also invited Dumaresq to appear in their film, called "Dirt Divas."

Transsexuality issues

Dumaresq had Sex reassignment surgery (SRS) performed in 1996, after having been on hormones for a lengthy period of time.

Since 2002, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), whose rules are used commonly throughout competitive sport, has allowed transsexuals to compete as their reassigned gender if the surgery has taken place at least two years prior to the competition and if the athlete has been on a regimen of hormones equal to that of a person born to the gender. In Dumaresq's case, she had undergone a gonadectomy six years prior to beginning competition and had been on hormones for well over six years. By this time any residual "advantage" of testosterone would no longer be present. (Equally, any competitor found guilty of doping - including taking testosterone - is banned from competition for two years.)

Competitive career

The first event Dumaresq entered was the Bear Mountain race held in Mission, British Columbia in May, 2001. She entered the novice female class and won. In fact, her finish time was 2.5 seconds faster than the winner of the female professional category. After racing two more races, her license was suspended by Cycling BC due to complaints from female competitors.

Cycling BC and the Canadian Cycling Association met privately with local organizers and at first suggested that Dumaresq quit racing. After discussion with the UCI the decision was made to permit Dumaresq to continue competing in the women's category. Dumaresq was not permitted to compete in the men's category since legally and medically she is female.

In April 2002, she was awarded a license to race in the women's category. Three weeks later, she entered her first race in the pro women's class and finished 3rd. The following week she placed 1st, beating her competition by 10 seconds. A wave of protest ensued and a petition was created and signed by female (and a few male) racers, asking for Dumaresq to be disqualified. Because she had a race license, the request was denied and her first professional win with females was upheld.

Dumaresq went on to win the 2002 Canada Cup series, which qualified her for the Canadian National team.

Later on, in September 2002, she co-represented Canada at the World Mountain Bike Championships. However, due to technical issues with her bike, Dumaresq only managed a 24th place finish in the event.

In 2003, Dumaresq won the 2003 Canadian National Championships and again represented Canada in the 2003 World Championships. She repeated her Nationals win in 2004 and finished 17th at the 2004 World Mountain Bike Championships held in Les Gets, France.

At the 2006 Canadian Nationals, a protest from one of her competitors during the podium ceremonies brought renewed attention to Dumaresq's participation in female sports. The boyfriend of second-place finisher Danika Schroeter jumped up onto the podium and helped Schroeter put on a t-shirt reading '100% Pure Woman Champ.'

The Canadian Cycling Association suspended Schroeter for her actions. However, in a controversial move, the CCA announced that Schroeter's time off the race course would be served during the off-season when it would have no impact on her.

External links

  • 100% Woman - a documentary film about Michelle Dumaresq
  • Dirt Diva's - The documentary film that started Michelle Dumaresq along the path to racing.

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