Chelsea Wolfe today was named a reserve athlete for the United States in BMX Freestyle and will travel to Tokyo for the Summer Olympic Games, Outsports has learned.
It’s an historic designation for Wolfe, who has been intentionally visible as a trans athlete as she has worked hard through her quest to earn this spot. Wolfe earned a fifth-place finish at the World Championships earlier this week, as previously reported by Outsports’ Karleigh Webb, locking in her role as the reserve athlete for the United States.
“By merely reaching this point in the process you are a role model, a visible symbol and an ambassador of our sport,” said the invitation letter from USA Cycling. “You can be proud of all that you have accomplished in pursuit of the 2020 Olympic Games Team.”
While some athletes may see missing an official spot competing at the Olympic Games as a disappointment, for Wolfe being named the team’s reserve athlete is a huge accomplishment. Being an out trans woman in that position is not lost on her.
“It’s honestly slowly processing little by little how exciting that is,” Wolfe told Outsports earlier this week in anticipation of being named USA Cycling’s reserve athlete. “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.”
While she isn’t technically on “Team USA,” as each country gets only so many official athletes, Wolfe will be traveling and training with the two athletes competing for Team USA, both of whom are also LGBTQ: Hannah Roberts, who is the favorite to win gold and who announced her marriage to her wife earlier this year, and Perris Benegas, who came out publicly just last month.
If one of the athletes is, for some reason, unable to compete in Tokyo, Wolfe would take their spot and compete.
Wolfe has known for over a year that it was a long shot to earn one of the United States’ two official spots in the Games, and her main goal since then has been to earn the team’s reserve spot. She’s done that and made history for trans athletes everywhere.