Kentucky swimmer who sided with Lia Thomas says majority of women don’t agree with ‘pathway’ of female sports

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FIRST ON FOX: Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines, who placed fifth in the NCAA 200-yard freestyle swimming championship with transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, says the “majority” of women “do not agree with the trajectory” that female sports travel.

Gaines’ comments came during an interview on the “Unmuted with Marsha” podcast hosted by Senator Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.

“The majority of us female athletes, or women in general, are not okay with this, and they are not okay with the trajectory of this and how this is going and how it could end in a few years,” Gaines said. . said, citing the NCAA’s reluctance to change the rules in an effort to protect female competitive sports.


University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas and Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines react after a tie for 5th in the 200 Freestyle Finals at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships on March 18, 2022 at the McAuley Aquatic Center in Atlanta Georgia.
(Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Gaines said she knows several women who feel the same way she does, but they are “afraid” of speaking out against transgender women who participate in women’s sports because of the current culture, and “don’t want to risk their future.”

The University of Kentucky swimmer, who told Blackburn that she has been competing in competitive swimming since she was 10, outlined her emotions and thoughts when she realized she had a bond with Thomas and did not receive a trophy during the competition.

“I touched the wall and saw that there was a five next to my name, indicating I was fifth…I looked up too and I saw the number five next to Lia’s name and so I realized at that moment we were equal. had,” Gaines told Blackburn. “It was kind of a rush of emotions. I was really happy for the girls above me who conquered what was seemingly impossible by beating Lia.”

“I was really shocked,” Gaines added.

sen.  Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., interviews Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines.

sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., interviews Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines.
(Not muted with Marsha/YouTube)

Gaines walked away from the competition that day without a trophy for her placement, but Thomas did not.

“I walked back [to get my trophy] and the NCAA official came up to me and he said, ‘Hey, that was a great dive. We only have one trophy for fifth place’, I understood that, I understand how that works. But he said, ‘We have to give the trophy to Lia. Yours comes in the mail. Good job.'”

“I was a little surprised, and I don’t think he necessarily expected me to really question it,” Gaines said.

The Kentucky swimmer told Blackburn that the official explained to her that the trophies had been handed out in chronological order, but Gaines said she was confused when she saw her get stuck with Thomas.

University of Pennsylvania transgender athlete Lia Thomas

University of Pennsylvania transgender athlete Lia Thomas
(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

“I don’t think they handled this well, but I don’t think they were prepared, you know, to handle this kind of situation, and so they were faced with something that they didn’t know what to do with,” said Gaines.


“I looked at him and said, ‘This is the women’s 200m freestyle, and Lia won a national title last night, and I’ve worked every day for this for the past four years,’” Gaines recalled, discussing how important it is for her and those she competes against to get to that point.

“I don’t think a lot of people realize that, but only the top 1% of, you know, female college athletes make it to this meeting. That in itself is a big deal, but you have to fight for every point there, and I was a little frustrated with how it was handled and how they appealed to me.”

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