Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis said during a press conference on Tuesday that he will sign an official proclamation declaring Sarasota-native and Olympic silver medalist Emma Weyant the winner of last week’s 500-yard freestyle event in the Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships after Weyant finished second place behind transgender athlete Lia Thomas.
Weyant, who is a freshman at the University of Virginia, clocked a time of 4:34.99 last Thursday, falling behind Thomas during the final stretch of the 500-yard event.
“If you look at what the NCAA has done by allowing basically men to compete in women’s athletics, in this case, the swimming, you had the number one woman who finished was from Sarasota and then Weyant, she won the silver medal, she’s been an absolute superstar her whole career,” DeSantis said. “She trains, I mean, to compete at that level is very, very difficult. And you don’t just roll out of bed and do it. That takes grit, that takes determination, and she’s been an absolute superstar and she had the fastest time of any woman in college athletics.”
“Now, the NCAA is basically taking efforts to destroy women’s athletics,” he continued. “They’re trying to undermine the integrity of the competition, and they’re crowning somebody else the woman’s champion and we think that’s wrong. And so in Florida, I’m going to be [inaudible] because this is this is a Floridian who I think deserves to be recognized, you know, we’re going to be doing a proclamation saying that Emma is the best female swimmer in the 500 meter freestyle, because she earned that.”
“And we need to stop allowing organizations like the NCAA to perpetuate frauds on the public and that’s exactly what they’re doing. They are putting ideology ahead of opportunity for women athletes,” the governor concluded. “And I think that there’s just some people that are afraid to speak out and say what they’re doing. But that is what they’re doing. And so in Florida, we’re going to be very clear, when they try to do things like that, when they try to undermine the integrity of competition, when they try to counteract the ability of women to realize their dreams, we are going to speak out about that. And so we’ll be issuing that proclamation just because, you know, as somebody that was, was such a great athlete in Florida has now moved on to the University of Virginia, you know, we need to honor that appropriately. And if the NCAA was willing to actually ensure the integrity of women’s competition, she would have been crowned national champion.”
— Evan Donovan (@EvanDonovan) March 22, 2022