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Caitlyn Jenner has slammed the NCAA for allowing Lia Thomas to become the first transgender athlete to win a Division I national championship in any sport.
The 22-year-old swimmer finished first in the 500-yard freestyle at the NCAA Championships, beating Virginia freshman Emma Weyant by 1.75 seconds this week.
The University of Pennsylvania student posted a season-best time of 4:33:24 and wasn't far off the record time of 4:24:06, currently held by Katie Ledecky.
Jenner, who won the men's decathlon event as Bruce at the 1976 Olympics before transitioning into female, has continually criticised the current rules in place for transgender athletes.
No, I just had the balls to stand up for women and girls in sports. https://t.co/FEl2Hav5z6— Caitlyn Jenner (@Caitlyn_Jenner) March 17, 2022
And Jenner maintain that same stance, feeling as though the regulations are not fair.
"Just being on testosterone depressants for a year or two, whatever the rules are now, they keep changing, obviously, it is not enough.
"Lia Thomas just dominated in the pool, and I'm sure she took it quite easily because she did not want to win by too much,
"I think she was probably taking it very easy in the race because she knew the world was watching, and she's just going to go fast enough to be able to win the race."
Thomas competed on the university’s men’s team for three years before transitioning in 2019. In a post-race interview, she said she tries to “ignore” the hate she receives.
“It means the world to be here,” she told Sports Center.
“I try to ignore it as much as I can. I try to focus on my swimming, what I need to do to get ready for my races. And just try to block out everything else.”
Thomas underwent hormone treatment to meet requirements set for transgender athletes and rules were changed this year by US swimming to allow her to compete.
Penn’s Lia Thomas won the 500-yard freestyle at the NCAA women’s swimming and diving championships.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 17, 2022
Thomas becomes the first known transgender athlete to win an NCAA Division I championship in any sport.
Full story from @katie_barnes3: https://t.co/mYzU5uBDpS pic.twitter.com/zgmIEgKO5x
But many critics still believe she has an advantage over her opposition. Jenner, meanwhile, has expressed an interest in meeting up with Thomas to talk about the controversy.
"Honestly, I would love to talk to Lia Thomas," she added.
"I would love to sit down for an hour and discuss this issue with her. I don't think she's done anything wrong. She's played by the rules, but I want to know what her motivation is. If she feels good about this, what's going on in her head?"
Thomas was booed by fans in attendance, with protests held in the stands at Georgia Tech.
The three swimmers who lost to Thomas, Weyant, Erica Sullivan and Brooke Ford, stood together and away from her on the third place spot on the podium to send a message.
Featured Image Credit: Image: Fox Sports & SportsCenter
Topics: Lia Thomas
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