Lia Thomas Loses Legal Battle Over Rules Preventing Trans-Identifying Swimmers From Competing In Elite Women’s Races
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - MARCH 17: Transgender woman Lia Thomas of the University of Pennsylvania talks to a reporter after winning the 500-yard freestyle at the NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championshipon March 17, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Trans-identifying swimmer Lia Thomas lost his legal challenge over rules that prevent transgender swimmers from competing in elite women’s races, including the Olympics.

Thomas mounted the legal challenge against World Aquatics earlier this year, reportedly with his eyes set on competing against women in the Olympics, but in a ruling released Wednesday, the Court for Arbitration of Sport dismissed Thomas’ request for arbitration, Fox News reported. World Aquatics, which is recognized by the International Olympic Committee, banned male swimmers from competing in women’s swimming in 2022, creating an “open” category for trans swimmers.

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

According to the ruling, USA Swimming granted Thomas’ request for “self-identity verification,” but the judges said USA Swimming had no authority to grant Thomas that request and “modify such scope of application” of the world governing body’s rules, the Associated Press reported.

World Aquatics said the court’s decision “is a major step forward in our efforts to protect women’s sport.”

“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,” the governing body added. “Our policies and practices are continuously evaluated to ensure they align with these core values, which led to the introduction of our open category. 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.”

Thomas, a former UPenn swimmer, was cast into the spotlight in 2022 after winning the NCAA Division 1 championship in the 500-yard freestyle. Shortly after his championship, Thomas told “Good Morning America,” “It’s been a goal of mine to swim at Olympic trials for a very long time, and I would love to see that through.”


The court’s dismissal of Thomas’ challenge comes just a few days before the U.S. Olympic swimming team trials kick off in Indianapolis. The 2024 Summer Olympics begin on July 26 in Paris.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Lia Thomas Loses Legal Battle Over Rules Preventing Trans-Identifying Swimmers From Competing In Elite Women’s Races