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The swimmer who tied Lia Thomas opens up about her championship experience


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A University of Kentucky swimmer who tied U-Penn’s Lia Thomas at the NCAA championships called out the NCAA for handling the situation “very badly” Wednesday on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

Riley Gaines, who matched Thomas – a transgender woman – says the NCAA told her Thomas would be pictured with the 5th place trophy at the Atlanta Championships and she could ‘pose’ with the sixth place trophy square.

Gaines told ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ that when she asked an NCAA official about the decision, she was told they were going in chronological order of winners – despite the fact that she and Thomas were at equality.

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U-Penn Quaker swimmer Lia Thomas and British Wildcat swimmer Riley Gaines
(Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty)

“We linked what are we talking about chronologically,” she recalled asking the manager. “And he said blatantly, ‘We’re just going to give the trophy to Lia: we respect and admire your swimming, but Lia has to hold the trophy.'”

Host Tucker Carlson remarked that the exchange showed the NCAA openly promoting biological men over biological women in a women’s event.

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The swimmer who tied Lia Thomas opens up about her championship experience

Lia Thomas from UPenn
(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Gaines said many other swimmers have been advised not to speak out.

“I’m blessed to have such an incredible support system at the University of Kentucky…I know I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m pretty sure I speak for a large majority of female athletes: it’s not good, and it’s not fair.”

“I think there’s a difference between your sex and your gender identity, and so I think it’s been totally misinterpreted and lost,” she said.

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“It’s finally gotten to the point where it’s shown and it completely violates women and women’s rights, especially in sport,” she added.

Carlson said what America is witnessing is “cheating”.

“And it’s remarkable that it takes courage to point that out. But it does, and you’re brave to do it,” he told Gaines.

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