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Aussie Olympic Legends Support Decision To Ban Trans Athletes From Women's Swimming Events

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Aussie Olympic Legends Support Decision To Ban Trans Athletes From Women's Swimming Events

Australian Olympic heroes Emily Seebohm and Cate Campbell have thrown their support behind the recent decision to restrict transgender swimmers from competing in women's events.

The topic of trans inclusion has been a hot debate among sports fans over the past few years.

Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas has found her name in the spotlight, in particular, after she shattered a number of collegiate female records in the pool.

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New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard also made headlines after becoming the first trans athlete to compete at an Olympic Games in Tokyo.

But the entire debate has left people split with some encouraging inclusivity while others are raising concerns around fairness in competition.

Well, now 152 Fina members - which is swimming's world governing body - have taken a vote on whether to ban trans athletes from entering into women's elite races.

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The findings revealed that a total of 71 percent of voters opted to stop trans athletes from competing in women's competitions if they have gone through any part of the process of male puberty.

Sports fans have reacted to the news, including four-time Olympian Seebohm, who admits she's happy with the decision.

"It's such a hard topic, no one wants to be the first one to say anything because you're scared of cancel culture," she told The Today Show.

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"That's such a thing now, if you say one wrong thing you're done.

"It was a matter of once one Australian athlete said something, it was like 'let's stand together' because we all feel the same. It's just we were all too scared to be the first one to say anything."

When asked if she was relieved, Seebohm replied: "100 per cent."

"It makes it easier for the athletes knowing what's going on, how the competition's going to look and that the sport can continue to be fair as it can be and include everyone.

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"I think there will probably be people that are upset with this decision but it was made by the majority of people."

Australian Olympic gold medallist Cate Campbell has also backed Fina's call, although she admitted it was a difficult decision to voice her support.

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

"We see you, value you and accept you," Campbell said.

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"My role, however, is also to stand up here, having asked our world governing body, FINA, to investigate, deliberate and uphold the cornerstone of fairness in elite women's competition.

"And it pains me — that this part of my role — may injure, infuriate and, potentially, alienate people from an already marginalised [transgender] community.

"Believe me, I have wrestled long and hard with myself, with what to say and do. I am aware that my actions and words, no matter what I say, will anger some people — whether they are from the [transgender] community or from the cisgender female community."

She added: "If inclusion is one of the cornerstones of sport, then the other would be fairness, fairness in regards to competition, especially elite, professional competition," she said.

"The incongruity that inclusion and fairness cannot always work together is one of the reasons why it is so difficult to talk about this topic.

"Usually, they are terms of absolutes which work together, yet science now tells us that, in this issue, they are incompatible."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Australia, Olympics, Swimming, Lia Thomas

Max Sherry
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