The Transportation Security Administration has apologized to six-time Olympic gold medal winner Amy Van Dyken, saying agents “did not follow correct screening protocols” at Denver International Airport.
The Olympic swimmer, who uses a wheelchair after an ATV accident, said she was groped by a security agent who did a full body search despite her pre-check clearance.
"They feel underneath your butt, they touch your crotch," she told IE. "It's a full body search." She didn't mind that so much as the male agent who "scolded her," she said.
"I was treated like I am less than a person," she said. "And you know what, I'm not."
She posted a photo Monday of herself crying on Instagram, calling out an agent she said was rude to her.
Later that day, the TSA released a statement.
“TSA reviews passenger complaints, and in this case determined that officers did not follow correct screening protocols when Ms. Amy Van Dyken came through the security checkpoint at Denver International Airport this weekend,” the agency said.
“TSA’s federal security director has reached out to Ms. Van Dkyen. The officers involved are undergoing retraining, and TSA Denver is providing refresher training to all of its officers as well.”
Van Dyken became the first U.S. female athlete to win four gold medals in a single Olympics at the 1996 Games in Atlanta. She won two additional medals in Sydney four years later.
In 2014, she suffered a paralyzing spinal injury in an ATV accident.
She told IE that she spoke up to protect others with physical limitations from being "humiliated" at airport security checkpoints.