Trans Swimmer Lia Thomas’ Challenge To Rule That Prevents Competing Against Women In ‘Elite Events’ Fails

Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images

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Former University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas’ challenge to a rule that prevents the biological male from competing against women in “elite events” was shot down Wednesday.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport denied the legal effort of Thomas, a biological male, to overturn rules issued in March 2023 by World Aquatics, the international governing body for competitive swimming and several other Olympic events, according to the Guardian. Thomas had sought to compete against women in the 2024 Summer Olympic games in Paris. (RELATED: Olympic Committee Warns Media Against Using ‘Biologically Male,’ ‘Female’ When Referring To Trans Athletes)

“The panel concludes that she lacks standing to challenge the policy and the operational requirements in the framework of the present proceeding,” the court said in its ruling, the Associated Press reported.

Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas of Penn University receives a white rose with other seniors at the 2022 Ivy League Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts on February 19, 2022. (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

“She is currently only entitled to compete in USA Swimming events that do not qualify as ‘Elite Events,’” the panel said in its ruling, according to USA Today.

The issue of biological males who identify as transgender competing in women’s sports became controversial following Thomas’s participation in the 2022 NCAA championships, where the biological male won the 500-yard women’s final by 1.75 seconds.

“World Aquatics welcomes the recent decision made by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) regarding the case of Lia Thomas, which we believe is a major step forward in our efforts to protect women’s sport,” the organization said in a statement provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “World Aquatics is dedicated to fostering an environment that promotes fairness, respect, and equal opportunities for athletes of all genders and we reaffirm this pledge.”

“Our policies and practices are continuously evaluated to ensure they align with these core values, which led to the introduction of our open category,” the statement continued. “We remain committed to working collaboratively with all stakeholders to uphold the principles of inclusivity in aquatic sports and remain confident that our gender inclusion policy represents a fair approach.”

Riley Gaines, who competed against Thomas as a member of the University of Kentucky’s swim team during the 2022 NCAA Championships, has been a vocal critic of allowing transgender athletes to compete against women.

The Olympic Games are scheduled to start July 26 in Paris, with hundreds of athletes competing in events that include basketball, gymnastics, diving, swimming, wrestling and weightlifting.

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