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Finland made a special show of virtue signaling to the transgender community by showcasing a 59-year-old transgender farmer who bore the country’s flag during the opening ceremony for the European Figure Skating Championships in Espoo, Finland, on Wednesday.
The skater, Minna-Maaria Antikainen, previously known as Markku-Pekka Antikainen, is a 59-year-old biological male who suddenly came out as trans a few years ago and decided to take up figure skating. During the ceremony, Antikainen delivered a sort of shaky, slow-motion spin around the ice, then fell and could not get up until a young woman skated over to offer a helping hand.
Antikainen ended the spectacle waving Finland’s national colors.
“The opening ceremony will present skaters at various levels, from non-professionals to top athletes. On the ice, we will see Single Skaters, Synchronized Skaters, and Pairs. Included among the performers are Figure Skater Minna-Maaria Antikainen, who defines herself as a gender-neutral woman, adaptive skating performers, and a male synchronized skating team,” said coach Helena Tienhaara ahead of the event, according to The Post Millennial.
Clearly stinging from criticism, Executive Director of the Finnish Figure Skating Association and Secretary General of the ISU European Figure Skating Championships, Outi Wuorenheimo, tried to justify the inclusion of the aging trans skater, saying that the move was a strike for diversity.
“We want to change the figure skating world by showing that talking about a skater’s weight is not the top priority, but muscular, healthy athletes may also succeed at the top level. It is important that we have different-looking skaters of various sizes in the competitions,” Wuorenheimo exclaimed.
The press release for the competition also makes it clear that Antikainen was invited for “diversity.”
“Figure skating is a very conservative sport with various strict rules. In international competitions, same-sex skating pairs are not allowed, and there is no category for non-binary skaters. I hope that every country will start working for equality and diversity in the field”, Wuorenheimo exclaimed.
“We want to change the figure skating world by showing that talking about a skater’s weight is not the top priority, but muscular, healthy athletes may also succeed at the top level. It is important that we have different-looking skaters of various sizes in the competitions,” Wuorenheimo added.
“If we want to change the world, we have to actively and visibly work for it and create rules that match our values. This is just the beginning of the journey, but we have the possibility to go on and lead the way,” the skating official concluded.
Taitoluistelija Minna-Maaria Antikainen, 56, on vahva mies ja upea nainen samassa kehossa. Tänään maailmanlaajuisesti vietettävän transihmisten muistopäivän kunniaksi erikoisartikkeli on nyt vapaasti kaikkien luettavissa. https://t.co/0nlOOUn0dd#TransDayofRemembrance #joensuu pic.twitter.com/E9Uj8ySVcE
— Sanomalehti Karjalainen (@KarjalainenFi) November 20, 2019
59-year-old farmer Markku-Pekka Antikainen took up figure skating at age 50 and is now performing under the female name “Minna-Maaria” at the opening ceremony of the European Figure Skating Championships #Espoo2023, to mixed effect. pic.twitter.com/blQjSPwoRr
— ystrïya (we/us) (@yatakalam) January 28, 2023
The sports world has been awash with controversy over transgender athletes for several years. Some sports have embraced athletes born as men competing against biological females, while others have gone in the opposite direction.
Most recently, officials of World Athletics bowed to the radical trans agenda by announcing that it would allow men posing as women to compete as females.
In 2022, the NCAA adopted rules allowing trans athletes to compete under their chosen gender that it claimed paralleled regulations adopted by the U.S. and International Olympic Committees.
On the other hand, Rugby banned athletes born as males from competing as females.
Several U.S. states have proposed bills banning transgender athletes in schools, while others have already moved to limit trans athletes to one degree or another. Only last month, a bill that would have banned men from competing as women failed to pass the Ohio Senate.
At least 18 states have considered laws banning men from competing in women’s sports, a movement that accelerated in 2022 when UPenn transgender swimmer Lia Thomas coasted to victory in the NCAA championships against his female competitors despite his mediocre record when swimming as a man.
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