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In a predictably safe feature story by Sports Illustrated published Thursday, transgender swimmer Lia Thomas told the outlet that there are goals out there bigger than dominating the upcoming NCAA Championships.
As many have assumed, Thomas doesn’t deny that the ultimate goal here is a spot on the 2024 Paris Olympic Games swim team — as a woman.
“The very simple answer is that I’m not a man,” Thomas told SI’s Robert Sanchez about swimming on the Penn women’s team and taking up a spot from a biological female. “I’m a woman, so I belong on the women’s team. Trans people deserve that same respect every other athlete gets.”
And with that, the world of women’s swimming got its answer on what’s next for a biological male who could leave Atlanta next week with two national championships while competing in three of the highest-profile races — the 100, 200 and 500 freestyle.
Sanchez reports that the master plan here is for Thomas to attend law school and train for the 2024 Olympics. The SI reporter says that USA Swimming officials told him SI that it doesn’t have an issue with Thomas joining the team as long as transgender requirements are met.
USA Swimming’s recently revised transgender rules state “no transgender athlete would be allowed to compete in the women’s category prior to showing that her concentration of testosterone in serum has been less than 5 nmol/L for a continuous period of 36 months.”
Thomas would also have to provide evidence that “prior physical development of the athlete as a male, as mitigated by any medical intervention, does not give the athlete a competitive advantage over” biological female competitors.
While that’s most likely going to lead to court cases and lawyers arguing over rules-language, the vision is clear: Thomas, who spent three years swimming for Penn as a male, wants that Olympic team spot.
What we don’t learn in the Sanchez feature is how Thomas feels about taking away a spot from a biological woman. We don’t learn what Thomas said, if anything, to the teammates who were allegedly left in tears as they stood on the blocks knowing they were about to be destroyed by Thomas at the Akron Zippy Invitational.
What we learn is that Thomas feels like “Trans people deserve that same respect every other athlete gets.”
But there’s zero pushback that Sanchez offers on that statement. Does Thomas believe there’s zero physical advantage having been born a male and having gone through puberty as a male?
Did Thomas dodge those questions? Did Sanchez even ask? We don’t know.
Do we know why Thomas was suddenly able to beat Yale transgender swimmer Iszac Henig — a biological female who is now racing as a male — in the 100 freestyle at the Ivy Championships after finishing 6th in a race against Henig in January?
What about the Jackie Robinson of trans sports thing?
Thomas denies the claims.
That’s it. Just deny it. Nothing to see here. Get in line, ladies. Don’t resist.