"Utter disregard and disrespect toward women" - Swimmer Riley Gaines launches fresh attack on Lia Thomas

Lia Thomas and Riley Gaines in single frame
Lia Thomas and Riley Gaines in single frame

Riley Gaines, a star college swimmer, has stood up to her criticism of transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, calling her an ordinary male swimmer who transitioned into a champion after switching to the women's division this summer.

In a recent interview with Fox News, which was in response to an ad by ESPN showing 'Humbled and Honored' Lia Thomas after her win at the NCAA Division I championship, Riley said,

"I hear lack of self-awareness, and I hear utter disregard and disrespect toward women... women who have dedicated their entire lives to their sport."

Riley Gaines and Lia Thomas controversy

The contentious relationship between the two began when Riley Gaines watched Lia Thomas for the first time competing in the 500-yard freestyle at the 2022 NCAA Swimming Championships.

Lia Thomas first competed for three years as Will Thomas for the University of Pennsylvania Men's Swim Team before moving to the Women's Team as Lia last autumn. She has gained notoriety both inside and outside the pool for her record-breaking feats and the havoc she has wreaked on female swimmers.

Gaines, a University of Kentucky swimmer, described the day as tragic and depressing. She later competed against Lia in the 200-yard freestyle, finishing fifth overall.

Lia Thomas made history by becoming the first transgender sportsperson to win the NCAA Division I women's 500-yard freestyle competition in March.

Riley Gaines said that when Lia Thomas was competing as a man, she was ranked somewhere between 500 and 600 nationally.

Thomas' eligibility was not officially decided by the NCAA until three weeks before the commencement of the Championships. Gaines and her crew faced a painful game of waiting. The NCAA then declared that Thomas would be permitted to compete.

Both Thomas and Gaines were nominated by their universities as candidates for the NCAA Women of the Year Award. Gaines feels that permitting athletes with masculine bodies to compete in women's sports will undermine the integrity of women's sports and leave women exposed.

Gaines is always in the midst of controversy

Gaines criticized President Joe Biden earlier this year for wanting to expand the term 'sex' in federal civil rights legislation to also include 'gender' and 'gender identity.'

Transgender female athletes would be permitted to participate against biological women in sports thanks to proposed revisions made to Title IX by the Biden government. Title IX is the federal civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or education program that gets support from the federal government.

Gaines said in her essay that doing this would put biological women at a disadvantage when competing against transgender women. She also described how she was compelled to share a locker room with Thomas at the March NCAA Championships.

She later claimed that she asked authorities from the National Collegiate Athletic Association where she could change since she did not want to undress in front of a male.

Riley Gaines has had a successful year, making several appearances on Fox News in addition to attending the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, Texas, with former President Donald Trump. The 23-year-old athlete was invited to join the former president as he talked about his desire to forbid transgender people from participating in women's sports.

Edited by Siddharth Dhananjay
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