Slowly but surely, women’s sports advocates are pushing back against efforts to destroy female-only competition amid a growing controversy involving a transgender swimmer born a male.
For months, complaints have swirled over University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas, a biological male who is transgendering to female over his/her competing in all-women’s events. Thomas has been setting one new record after another in female competition while he/she was not nearly as competitive when swimming as a male, which was the case until this past year.
But after Olympic silver medalist Emma Weyant lost an event to Thomas over the weekend, the pushback is gaining steam, according to the Washington Times. She “is being cheered as a winner after placing second at the NCAA Division I women’s swimming championships,” the paper reported, adding:
The 20-year-old Virginia freshman lost Thursday night’s 500-yard freestyle final to Thomas, the transgender University of Pennsylvania senior who won with a season’s best time of 4:33.24. Weyant touched second with a time of 4:34.99.
Even so, Weyant was the crowd favorite. She received the lion’s share of cheers at Georgia Tech’s McAuley Aquatic Center. Her name also trended on social media as critics of rules allowing biological males to compete in women’s sports declared Weyant the “real winner.”
“Round of applause for Emma Weyant, the UVA swimmer who placed second in the 500y freestyle tonight, behind Lia Thomas. Second is the new first,” tweeted Angela Morabito, former Education Department press secretary in the Trump administration.
— Angela Morabito (@AngelaLMorabito) March 18, 2022
Other posted remarks included “#EmmaWeyant is the rightful winner,” “#EmmaWeyant the real winner of that race,” and “#EmmaWeyant is the champ!”
“Congrats to Virginia freshman Emma Weyant, the woman who would have won tonight’s NCAA title in the 500 meter if women’s sports were still sane,” tweeted OutKick founder Clay Travis.
The right-leaning group the Independent Women’s Forum also issued a statement to “congratulate Emma for being the true female winner of the race.”
“Shame on the NCAA for allowing XY athletes to compete in women’s championships,” said forum director Jennifer C. Braceras.
“Congrats to Olympic silver medalist Emma Weyant, the fastest female in the 500-yard freestyle finals at the @NCAA Division I Champs,” tweeted Rosey McVay, co-founder of Save Women’s Sports Australasia. “It is not right that you can’t take your rightful place on the podium & shame on the @NCAA for allowing this to happen.”
In addition to Weyant, Thomas beat two other Olympic silver medalist female swimmers who came in third and fourth place.
Coming in third Thursday was Texas freshman Erica Sullivan at 4:35.92. She won silver in the 1,500 freestyle last year at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, which were delayed a year for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Taking fourth place was Stanford fifth-year swimmer Brooke Forde with a time of 4:36.18. She was the silver medalist in the 800 freestyle in Tokyo.
Weyant’s silver came in the 400 individual medley. After the event, the three Olympians posed together for a photo on the podium several feet away from Thomas, according to a photo posted to Twitter.
— Emma the dinosaur (@Herstorynothis1) March 18, 2022