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Olympic Legend Michael Phelps Weighs In On The Transgender Swimming Debate

Max Sherry

Published 

Olympic Legend Michael Phelps Weighs In On The Transgender Swimming Debate

Featured Image Credit: Twitter/CNN/UPenn

Michael Phelps has had his say on the controversy surrounding transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, admitting that it's "very complicated".

Thomas, who used to compete in the men's category for three years prior to transitioning, has found herself in the headlines after shattering several U.S. women's NCAA records in the pool.

News of Thomas' record-breaking performances have sparked debate among sports fans with some outraged about her eligibility, while others have heaped praise on her and the University of Pennsylvania for driving inclusivity.

Michael Phelps. Credit: Alamy
Michael Phelps. Credit: Alamy

According to NCAA laws, trans athletes are allowed to compete as long as they have undergone proper testosterone therapy for at least one year.

A number of big-name figures, including professional athletes, have weighed in on the situation - 28-time Olympic medallist Michael Phelps now being one of them.

"I can talk from a standpoint of doping, I don't think I've competed in a clean field in my entire career," Phelps told CCN's Christiane Amanpour.

"So I think this leads back to the organising committees again. Because it has to be a level playing field. That's something that we all need. Because that's what sports are. For me, I don't know where this is going to go. I don't know what's going to happen.

"I believe that we all should feel comfortable with who we are in our own skin. But I think sports should be played on an even playing field. I don't know what that looks like in the future, but it's hard.

"Honestly, I don't know what to say, it's very complicated. This is my sport, this has been my sport for my whole entire career, and one thing I would love is for everybody to be able to compete on an even playing field. That's all I can say."

Lia Thomas. Credit: Alamy
Lia Thomas. Credit: Alamy

As people continued to be split on the matter, a number of Thomas' UPenn teammates and rival swimmers have since spoken out against her eligibility.

Most recently, a teammate of Thomas' told the Washington Examiner: "She compares herself to Jackie Robinson. She said she is like the Jackie Robinson of trans sports.

"She laughs about it and mocks the situation. Instead of caring or showing that she cares about what she's doing or what she's doing to her teammates, she's not sympathetic or empathetic at all. Lia never addressed our team. She never asked if it was OK. She never asked how we felt. She never tried to explain how she feels. She never has said anything to us as a group. She never addressed anything."

Topics: olympics, olympic games, Trans, Michael Phelps, swimming, Australia, transgender, Lia Thomas

Max Sherry
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