Patricia Spratlen Etem, former member of the US Olympic Rowing Team in 1980 and 1984, he was not an athlete growing up. In fact, it wasn’t until he attended the University of California, Berkeley in the mid-1970s, fresh off Title IX implementation, that he began his journey.

Spratlen Etem, 66, recently spoke with Fox News Digital about her continued work in women’s sports, specifically around the ongoing debate over women’s participation. transgender athletes in female sports.

Spratlen Etem is only one of two African-American women to make the US Women’s Olympic Rowing Team, but in her first shot at gold, the United States announced it would boycott the competition summer games in moscow due to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Patricia Spratlen Etem, a former member of the US Olympic rowing team, photographed in 1980.

Patricia Spratlen Etem, a former member of the US Olympic rowing team, photographed in 1980. ( )

28 GROUPS URGES BIDEN’S ADMINISTRATOR TO SUPPORT WOMEN’S SPORTS, FIGHT AGAINST ‘ILLEGAL’ REGULATORY TITLE IX

Spratlen Etem, who now serves as a member of the Rowing Advisory Committee for the Independent Women’s Sports Council, compared that moment of being robbed of her «gold medal chance» to the «same denial» she says girls face. and young women in sports today. due to the participation of transgender athletes.

«I worked tremendously hard, just like athletes all over the world, and [it was] completely out of our control. There was a boycott ordered by our government. We were not government employees. We weren’t in the army. And yet we were denied our chance. And for me, that was my chance for a gold medal. It really was.»

She continued: «So I think about these women, and it’s the same denial. You’re not in control. It’s imposed on you and it’s out of your control. So this is happening to girls and it’s just heartbreaking. It’s really heartbreaking.» . .»

Spratlen Etem’s comments follow those of Becky Sauerbrunn, an American women’s soccer star who has won two FIFA World Cups and a 2012 Olympic Games gold medalist, who wrote an op-ed earlier this month targeting Missouri lawmakers over a bill that would ban transgender girls from playing sports with biological women.

United States No. 4 Becky Sauerbrunn advances the ball before a game between Germany and USWNT at Red Bull Arena on November 13, 2022 in Harrison, New Jersey.

United States No. 4 Becky Sauerbrunn advances the ball before a game between Germany and USWNT at Red Bull Arena on November 13, 2022 in Harrison, New Jersey. (Howard Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

«I can assure you that playing with or against transgender women and girls is not a threat to women’s sports,» Sauerbrunn wrote in her article published in the Springfield News-Leader in Missouri.

However, Spratlen Etem disagreed.

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«It’s a huge threat. It’s an existential threat. And it’s a threat on many levels.»

Spratlen Etem named several examples, including safety, specifically in contact sports, but argued that the biggest threat is Title IX.

He specifically pointed to the Biden administration’s proposed changes to Title IX that will change the language of the law to include gender identity in its protections instead of those based solely on sex.

President Biden speaks at the University of Tampa on February 9, 2023.

President Biden speaks at the University of Tampa on February 9, 2023. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

«That’s dangerous for women. That completely turns Title IX on its head. It undoes Title IX for women. It does that for recruiting, where now you have to say: they can practice affirmative action in recruiting to bring levels up, now not based on sex, based on gender.»

The Biden administration proposed new regulations on the 50th anniversary of Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded schools, to expand protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Spratlen Etem argued that the implications of the new changes will have a lasting effect on biological women, not only in athletics, but also in education.

«It’s a definite and terrible threat to women because this impedes educational opportunity. And the people who say, no, it really doesn’t. Yeah, it really does,» she said, adding that there are more women on campus now than before the implementation of Title IX.

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«The very fact is that Title IX is a complete and important driver for women’s higher education, when you change that to gender, it’s a no-brainer to say that it’s not a threat.»

«It’s detrimental for women to have to compete against biological men,» she continued. «So in the implementation for US colleges and universities, that’s going to be Title IX. And if the language of Title IX says that everything will be replaced by gender, then women essentially don’t count. That’s really what they’re saying. And that’s the opposite: the antithesis of what Title IX was originally intended to do.»

Lia Thomas, left, looks on from the podium after finishing fifth in the 200-yard freestyle during the 2022 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championships at the McAuley Aquatic Center on the Georgia Institute of Technology campus on 18 March 2022 in Atlanta.

Lia Thomas, left, looks on from the podium after finishing fifth in the 200-yard freestyle during the 2022 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships at the McAuley Aquatic Center on the campus of the Institute of Georgia Tech on March 18, 2022 in Atlanta. (Mike Comer/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

The Biden administration will publish another round of regulations in the spring that will specifically address the application of Title IX to transgender athletes participating in women’s sports, an idea hotly debated by current and former athletes on both sides.

However, for Spratlen Etem, the «discriminatory component» of these changes is something she believes no one can deny, especially those who have benefited from Title IX.

“I don’t understand how women or men don’t see the discrimination component of this and how it negatively affects and will affect girls,” she told Fox News Digital. «Women have paved the way for these young women. Completely. They themselves have benefited from the original Title IX. That has been in their lifetime.»

Spratlen Etem said the idea is not to isolate anyone from athletics, but to «create a category so that it is competitively fair.»