Riley Gaines launches a fresh attack on Lia Thomas, calling her ‘selfish and not self-aware’


Star college swimmer Riley Gaines has renewed her attacks on transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, describing her as an average male swimmer who became a champion after her transition. 

Gaines, 23, made her remarks in an interview on Fox News in response to an ESPN ad showing Thomas describing herself as feeling ‘humbled and honored’ to win a Division I championship.

The University of Kentucky athlete said, ‘To me, hearing that, all I hear is selfishness.’

She continued, ‘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.’

Last March, Thomas, a University of Pennsylvania student, made history by becoming the first transgender athlete to win the NCAA Division I women’s 500-yard freestyle event.

Gaines pointed out during her Fox News appearance that prior to her transition, Lia Thomas was ranked between 500 and 600th in the country in the male division

In an ESPN ad this week, Thomas described herself as feeling 'humbled and honored' to win a Division I championship

In an ESPN ad this week, Thomas described herself as feeling ‘humbled and honored’ to win a Division I championship

On Fox News, Gaines pointed out that Thomas ranked somewhere between 500 and 600 in the country while she competed as a male. 

Both Thomas and Gaines were nominated by their schools for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award. During the 2018 and 2019 swimming seasons, Thomas competed in the men’s division.

In the aforementioned ESPN ad, Thomas also said, ‘I can only hope I’m able to give other trans people the inspiration and motivation I was given.’

Gaines also said in her response to seeing the commercial, ‘Women who have dedicated their entire lives to their sport, not just one year after the year before ranking in the 500s and 600s as a biological male. That’s what this was.’

The health sciences major continued by referring to Thomas as her dead-name and said that the year before becoming a champion, she ranked no higher than 500. 

She added, ‘Nothing about what I just said is an opinion and if it frustrates someone, or makes someone upset, I think that speaks volumes.’

Thomas previously competed on UPenn men's swim team for three years before transitioning in 2019

Thomas previously competed on UPenn men’s swim team for three years before transitioning in 2019

The ban on transgender swimmers in international competition followed the controversy over Lia Thomas (pictured) winning a major US swimming title at the college level

Gaines, right, tied with Thomas, left, for fifth place in the 200-yard freestyle NCAA championships in March

Earlier this year, Gaines slammed President Joe BIden for proposing to change the definition of ‘sex’ in a federal civil rights law to include ‘gender’ and ‘gender identity.’

The changes to Title IX, the 1972 law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or any other education program that receives funding from the federal government, would therefore allow transgender female athletes to compete against biological women in sports.

By doing so, Gaines wrote in her essay, biological women would be placed at a disadvantage when competing against transgender women. 

In the essay, Gaines used the opportunity to recount how she was forced to share a locker room with Thomas at the NCAA Championships back in March.

She wrote: ‘At the NCAA Championships, I saw a 6’4’ male exposing male parts in our women’s locker room.

‘To be perfectly clear, the anatomy I and many other women were forced to view, confirms Thomas is a male.’

Gaines said she then asked National Collegiate Athletic Association officials where she could change ‘as I had no intention of undressing in front of a man.

‘They informed me that there were no protections in place for me to change in a  space that Thomas did not have access to.

‘To summarize, the NCAA put the onus on the female to avoid undressing in front of a biological man with biological parts who is sexually attracted to women. Let that sink in.’ 

Gaines appeared on Tucker Carlson Today back in July, accusing the NCAA of a 'huge lack of accountability' in protecting the integrity of women's sports

Gaines appeared on Tucker Carlson Today back in July, accusing the NCAA of a ‘huge lack of accountability’ in protecting the integrity of women’s sports 

It’s been a big year for Gaines, who in addition to her multiple appearances on Fox News, also joined former President Donald Trump at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, Texas.

The former president had asked the 23-year-old athlete to join him while he discussed his intent to ban transgender women from competing in women’s sports — and before she took the stage, Gaines took the opportunity to share her thoughts on the issue.

‘Basically, all I want to say is that it takes a brain and common sense and fifth grade biology level understanding to realize that this is blatantly unfair. It’s completely obvious,’ she said.

She briefly reiterated that idea at the podium alongside Trump later that evening, saying ‘I’m just gonna say keep female sports female.’   

She later joined former President Donald Trump at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, Texas

She later joined former President Donald Trump at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, Texas

THE RULES ON TRANSGENDER ATHLETES AND WHEN THEY CAN COMPETE FOR GENDER THEY ARE SWITCHING TO

Thomas (pictured in 2016) was a swimmer in high school

Thomas (pictured in 2017) was a swimmer in high school

Thomas previously competed on UPenn men’s swim team for three years before transitioning in 2019 (pictured in 2016 and 2017, respectively)

Lia Thomas started taking hormone therapy while she was still competing as a male back in May 2019. 

Under USA Swimming rules, athletes had to have recorded low levels of testosterone for 36 months to compete in the female category. 

That meant that Thomas didn’t qualify for the NCAA championship, if they followed USA Swimming rules – as they originally said they would.  

But the NCAA said that she would be allowed to compete because they were refusing to adopt the threshold in 2021. 

The NCAA committee said: ‘The subcommittee decided implementing additional changes at this time could have unfair and potentially detrimental impacts on schools and student-athletes intending to compete in 2022 NCAA women’s swimming championships.’ 

It is unclear what they will do next year, however.  

 

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