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USA Cycling plans 'Inclusion Summit' in Arkansas; Industry members plan to participate

Published April 8, 2021

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (BRAIN) — USA Cycling, whose CEO's comments on Arkansas' anti-trans legislation failed to satisfy some, announced Thursday that it would hold an Inclusion Summit in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Specialized Bicycles, Canyon Bicycles, Allied Cycle Works, and Experience Fayetteville have agreed to participate in the summit.

USAC said the summit participants will set a date for the event within 30 days. It said it would work with LGBTQIA+ groups in Arkansas. "Following this Inclusion Summit, our goal will be to organize legislative action in jurisdictions like Arkansas that most threaten inclusivity and our commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community," the USAC said.

Earlier this week USAC CEO Rob DeMartini told that the organization is unlikely to boycott Arkansas events, preferring to remain part of the dialogue by participating.

"It would be different if our athletes were got to be affected, but we don't believe they will be," the site quoted DeMartini as saying, a remark that drew condemnation from some athletes on social media, who said all athletes are affected by the situation in Arkansas, whether or not the recently passed legislation banned them from participating in USAC events there. 

DeMartini later said he was taken out of context and elaborated on his position on his Twitter account.

In the USAC statement Friday, the organization said it "wishes to reaffirm its position on the subject of inclusion in cycling events: the practice of sport should be available to everyone.

"USA Cycling is unequivocally opposed to any legislative efforts that aim to limit an athlete’s access to competition. We respect the rights of athletes and members of our community who wish to boycott events which take place in those states where this legislation is being threatened or enacted. We also believe the most effective means to counter these policies is active engagement alongside local groups working to affirm the rights of the entire LGBTQIA+ community by promoting and advancing the discussion, and taking a stand against discrimination in any form. We will also seek to place future USA Cycling National Championships in cities, counties, and states that welcome all our members."

The USAC said it has"proudly been among the most progressive governing bodies of sport on the issue of transgender participation, and in 2017 introduced a tiered (elite and non-elite) policy to ensure safe, fair, and inclusive competition. These rules are clear and consistent with the IOC and UCI. USA Cycling sanctions over 2,500 events and 20 National Championships annually: these events are open to all athletes, are compliant with non-arbitrary qualification requirements, and establish criteria to ensure fair competition. Moving forward, USA Cycling will amplify our advocacy for safe and welcomed access to all LGBTQIA+ athletes and will continue to conduct fair and equitable competitions for all our members."

The statement said that beyond the summit, USA Cycling will continue to conduct open-invite roundtables on its inclusivity policies and practices, and will continue to invest in its DEI Task Force

Allied is partly owned by RZC Investments, whose principals are Tom and Steuart Walton. Allied's CEO Drew Medlock told BRAIN that the company was "very disappointed to see the recent string of legislation targeted at LGBTQ people in our state."

"People have done the right thing to speak up and bring awareness to the issues in the cycling community," Medlock added. "However, we see that the UCI, USA Cycling and the Fayetteville community are working in good faith to help drive change and promote inclusiveness. Bikes are a huge part of the progression to transform our region which is good for everyone, and we believe the Cyclocross Worlds and the many other great cycling events in our area contribute to that positive momentum."


Topics associated with this article: Racing & Sponsorship

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