Trans Swimmer Lia Thomas Fails In Legal Challenge After Attempting To Keep Competing Against Biological Women

Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas (2nd L). (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN’s Brooke Mallory
12:27 PM – Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Lia Thomas, a 6-foot-1 swimmer who identifies as a transgender woman, lost a legal battle to overturn regulations that prevented participation in elite women’s events after judges determined that Thomas lacked the necessary standing.


In a decision made public on Wednesday, the three-judge Court of Arbitration for Sport panel denied Thomas’ request for arbitration against the World Aquatics governing organization.

In 2022, “during the last season in the NCAA, Lia Thomas competed in the men’s division… [being] ranked 554th in the 200-yd freestyle, and [Thomas] is now fifth in the [women’s] event…

In the 500-yd freestyle, Thomas was 65th in the country [while competing in the men’s division]. Now, [Thomas] ranked first place in the [women’s] event. Finally, in the 1650 freestyle, [Thomas was] eighth in the nation, as opposed to 32nd in the men’s division,” Essentially Sports reported.

Transgender athletes who have gone through male puberty, giving them scientifically-backed physical and athletic advantages, are not permitted to compete in women’s races, World Aquatics declared.

Additionally, World Aquatics established an “open” category that would accept athletes who identify as the opposite gender.

Thomas had requested that the 2022 rules be overturned by a Swiss court since the swimmer believed they were discriminatory, unlawful, and invalid.

Thomas, who was previously a swimmer for the University of Pennsylvania, won an NCAA championship in meets held outside of the World Aquatics competitive system.

“The panel concludes that [Thomas] lacks standing to challenge the policy and the operational requirements in the framework of the present proceeding,” the court stated in its ruling.

The world governing body’s rules cannot be modified to “such scope of application,” according to the judges, and USA Swimming lacks this authority.

In a case that “we believe is a major step forward in our efforts to protect women’s sport,” World Aquatics said it was pleased with the CAS ruling.

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