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A group of GOP senators met Thursday with female Team USA and Olympic champions to discuss the controversial issue of transgender athletes participating in female sports, calling it "dangerous" for women to compete against biological males.

Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss.

, discussed preserving women's sports with three-time Olympic cyclist Inga Thompson, Team USA World Masters track athlete Cynthia Monteleone and her daughter, high school track athlete Margaret Oneal.

"I firmly believe no one should be discriminated against and that everyone should be treated with dignity, respect, and privacy. We cannot ignore the biological differences in men’s and women’s athletics," said Ernst in a statement to Fox News.

Sens. Ernst, Blackburn and Hyde-Smith met with cyclist Inga Thompson, Team USA World Masters track athlete Cynthia Monteleone and her daughter, high school track athlete Margaret Oneal. (Office of Senator Joni Ernst)

"To do so would threaten a woman’s physical safety, and limit their opportunities for athletic success and scholarships. As a woman and a mother, I am passionate about protecting women and girls, which is why I’m working with my colleagues to pass the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act," Ernst continued.

BANS ON TRANSGENDER ATHLETES IN FEMALE SPORTS TO BE DEFENDED BY ARKANSAS, MISSISSIPPI AND OTHER GOP STATES

Back in February, Ernst, Blackburn and Hyde-Smith co-sponsored the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act, designed to protect opportunities for female athletes. 

"Female athletes are champions and deserve a fair chance at competing. Allowing males to compete in women’s sports denies female student athletes a level playing field to compete and achieve. It is an insult to athletes like Cynthia Monteleone, Margaret Oneal, Inga Thompson and a direct attempt to discriminate against women," said Blackburn.

The senators' discussion with the athletes centered around the issue of "fairness" in women's sports when biological males are allowed to compete against female or on female teams.

At the 2018 World Masters Athletics Championships in Málaga, Spain, Monteleone competed against a transgender athlete from Colombia, Yanelle Del Mar Zape. According to the athlete turned coach, when she expressed concerns, she was called a "sore loser" by race officials at the championship, as they attempted to silence her. 

In addition, Monteleone's daughter, high school athlete Margaret Oneal, placed second behind a biological male in a track competition during her sophomore year.

Oneal told Fox News that it was "discouraging and disheartening" to compete against a "physically stronger" biological male in her track race. She said it also took a mental toll on her teammates, who were intimidated to race against a stronger and faster male during the competition.

FIVE-TIME NATIONAL TRACK CHAMP SAYS 'TRANSGENDER ATHLETES WILL DIMINISH OPPORTUNITIES FOR BIOLOGICAL WOMEN'

Thompson, who took home multiple Olympic medals in 1984, 1988 and 1992 for cycling and placed at the Tour de France in 1986, discussed added challenges she faced during her experiences racing against physically superior men when women's events were not available. 

The Olympic medalist also said that despite years of working to enact Title IX protections so women could compete in sports in general, transgender activism is rolling back those important steps forward.

She also mentioned that the NCAA's recent ruling, that athletes can profit off of their names while on the college level, poses is a threat for female athletes who might be displaced by transgender athletes with a biological advantage.

Critics of transgender bans in athletics say that athletes who identify as female do not actually have a competitive advantage over biological females, particularly if they are taking hormones, and any opposing view is simply discriminatory.

However, Thompson and Monteleone pointed to multiple studies that state that even if a biological male takes female hormones, they still have a competitive advantage over women.

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The first openly transgender athletes are currently performing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. including New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, who is set to compete for gold in the 87-kilogam category on Monday.

Kelly Laco is a news and politics editor for Fox News.

News Source: FOX News

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Gabby Petito missing: Utah police release bodycam footage showing interaction with her, Brian Laundrie

Police in Utah reportedly have released bodycam footage showing officers interacting with Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie after a witness called 911 around two weeks before she disappeared to report a "possible domestic violence" incident. 

The video shows officers from the Moab City Police Department talking to a visibly distraught Petito – and Laundrie – after they pulled their white van over, according to ABC7. 

Police immediately separated the pair before they each described the incident that prompted the 911 call, the station adds. 

Gabby Petito, who is now missing, and Brian Laundrie. (Fox News Instagram screenshot)

LIVE UPDATES: SEARCH FOR GABBY PETITO CONTINUES 

A witness had called 911 around 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 12 over "possible domestic violence" near Moonflower Community Cooperative in Moab and said he saw Petito and Laundrie arguing over a phone.  

"The driver of the van, a male, had some sort of argument with the female, Gabbie," a responding officer wrote in the report, citing conversations he had with Petito, Laundrie, and the witness.  

"The male tried to create distance by telling Gabbie to go take a walk to calm down, she didn’t want to be separated from the male, and began slapping him," the report said. "He grabbed her face and pushed her back as she pressed upon him and the van, he tried to lock her out and succeeded except for his driver’s door, she opened that and forced her way over him and into the vehicle before it drove off." 

UTAH POLICE DETAIL ALTERCATION BETWEEN COUPLE BEFORE PETITO DISAPPEARED 

A responding officer initially wrote that he believes "it was reported the male had been observed to have assaulted the female," but later wrote that "no one reported that the male struck the female." 

An officer eventually pulled the van over and said that when he approached, Petito was "crying uncontrollably" in the passenger seat.  

One of the responding officers said the incident can be "more accurately categorized as a mental/emotional health ‘break’ than a domestic assault," and that "no significant injuries" were reported.  

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Laundrie stayed in a hotel that night, while Petito stayed with the van, according to the report.  

Petito's last known location was Aug. 25 in Grand Teton National Park. Laundrie, meanwhile, drove back to the Florida Gulf Coast town of North Port, where their trip began, on Sept. 1, and the van was recovered by police at his family's home on Sept. 11.  

Fox News's Michael Ruiz and Stephanie Pagones contributed to this report. 

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