Update June 24, 1:45pmET: USA Track & Field has announced CeCe Telfer will not be allowed to compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials.
Telfer’s manager David McFarland send Outsports this statement from Telfer:
“I will respect USA Track & Field’s decision on my eligibility to compete in the 400 meter hurdles at the U.S. Olympic Trials this Friday in Eugene. I have turned my focus towards the future and am continuing to train. No doubt I will continue to compete on the national - and world - stage again soon.”
Update June 17, 8:35pmET: Despite Outsports being told otherwise, USATF has changed Telfer’s status online to “not qualified.” We will get a final answer and will not report on this until we do.
CeCé Telfer, the 2019 Division II women’s track and field national champion in the 400-meter hurdles, is listed on the USA Track & Field website as “accepted” and “declared” for the Olympic Trials, which runs for 10 days starting Friday.
Outsports has learned that Telfer will in fact compete.
She will be the first publicly out trans athlete to compete at the USA Track & Field Olympic Trials in the gender category with which she identifies. Previously, Megan Youngren competed in the Marathon Olympic Trials, organized by USA Track & Field but a separate event all together. At the same Trials, Nikki Hiltz will be the first trans nonbinary person to compete.
Earlier it was unclear whether Telfer would be competing in Eugene, Ore., for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team, as her status had not been listed as “qualified.”
The qualifying time for the event is 56.50, but USATF also says there will be 28 athletes in the field. She is listed as “accepted” for the women’s 400-meter hurdles Olympic Trials with a posted time of 57.53, but only 17 women are listed as “qualified” due to the lack of opportunities to compete and train for the qualifying time. Telfer’s posted time is the 28th fastest.
Various sports organizations have loosened qualifying restrictions due to the pandemic. Recently, New Zealand athlete Laurel Hubbard qualified for the Olympics as the weightlifting governing body adjusted its qualifications.
“CeCe continues to train and run strong leading up to Olympic Trials,” Telfer’s manager, David McFarland, told Outsports. “She has been accepted to compete in Olympic Trials but we are waiting for final confirmation from USATF. She’s in queue to compete in the 400M Hurdles.”
That confirmation has arrived.
For the 100-meter hurdles, Telfer is the fastest woman listed as “not qualified,” a mere 0.01 seconds behind the final “accepted” qualifier.
It’s been a long road to this spot for Telfer, who has talked about her struggles finding support for her potential journey to the Olympics, writing in Women’s Health:
In the two years since my groundbreaking NCAA Women’s Division II championship in the 400m hurdle, I’ve reached out to more than 200 coaches in hopes of qualifying for the 2021 Olympics. Only two responded, and one stopped replying to my emails after finding out I’m trans.
The first round of the women’s 400-meter hurdles is Friday, June 25.