The man called himself a woman and beat the best swimmers in the United States. On the pedestal, rivals retaliated

Transgender Leah Thomas surpassed the Olympic medalists. But they found a way to show that they are not happy with such a champion.

Thanks to Leah Thomas, collegiate swimming competitions in the US are making a fuss all over the world. And all because Thomas is transgender. Simply put, an ex-husband who competed with men two years ago.

No one knows what exactly made the athlete change sex. But the fact remains that the swimmer’s results improved significantly when Thomas switched to another gender category.

After Lea’s new high-profile success, the patience of her rivals was shattered. The girls belonging to the world swimming elite organized a protest exactly during the awards ceremony.

But it is unlikely that their bold trick will change anything.

Historical achievement

The U.S. National Association of Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) overseas competitions are of real interest and serve as a solid foundation for professional sports. The NCAA Swimming Championship for American Swimmers is always one of the most important events of the season.

Thus, in the 500 yards for women in freestyle swimming, the silver medalists of the Tokyo Olympics Emma Veyant and Erica Sullivan performed. However, both lost at the finish line by a swimmer without special titles – 23-year-old Leah Thomas. She became the first transgender woman to win an NCAA title in swimming.

“I did not have high expectations, I was just happy to be here, trying to show my best result,” Leah said after swimming.

Protests of fans and athletes

However, not everyone shared the swimmer’s joy. Under the video on the NCAA channel, dozens of comments appeared in which viewers congratulated not Thomas, but runner-up Emma Veyant for her victory.

In addition, there were many people in the stands with “Save Women’s Sports” stickers and “Women’s Sports Matter” T-shirts. Protesters gathered in the streets, accusing Thomas of fraud and calling for the protection of women’s rights in sports.

The most interesting thing is that a kind of protest against the results of the race was expressed not only by the fans, but also by the athletes themselves! Thus, at the awards ceremony, winners Emma Veyant and Erica Sullivan invited Brooke Ford to the podium, who took only fourth place.

Photo: © Justin Casterline / Contributor / Getty Images Sport /

Weyant, Sullivan and Ford are an alternative trio, in which there is no room for a transgender athlete. All three stood on the third rung of the podium embraced, while Thomas stood alone in the champion spot. And although after the swim, Lea said she was trying to ignore the public’s attacks, her modest smile makes it clear that the situation still bothers the swimmer.

Although Thomas does not dominate at all distances (in the 200-yard freestyle swim, Leah took only fifth place), the anger of “colleagues in the store” is understandable. The 23-year-old, who had not excelled in similar competitions between men, suddenly took power in women swimming.

Transgender war

And all because the rules still do not have a clear decision about such athletes. So last year the IOC recommendations canceled testosterone measurements. Following this innovation, the participation of transgender people in competitions was greatly simplified. Now, to move to another gender category, it is not even necessary to have sex reassignment surgery.

NCAA rules also do not prohibit transgender people from competing in the desired category. Lea took advantage of this. She underwent a course of hormone therapy and began performing among women. As a result, a mediocre swimmer became a very strong and successful swimmer.

Late last year, she won the 1500m freestyle, beating her closest rival by 38 seconds. By comparison, at a similar distance at the Tokyo Olympics, the gap between first and second place was only 4 seconds. Lia has already climbed the first step of the podium again, leaving behind the Olympic medalists.

To compete with Thomas can … just another transgender. Isaac Hoenig, a biological woman undergoing a transformation into a man, defeated Thomas in freestyle 100 and 400 yards earlier this year. So the athlete should not rest: with such democratic rules, she will soon have many worthy rivals!

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