Virginia tech swimmer Reka Gyorgy has written a strong, lengthy letter to the NCAA criticising the decision to allow Lia Thomas to compete in the 500-yard freestyle finals and subsequently win the Division I championship.
Thomas became the first transgender athlete to win a championship in any sport when she beat Virginia freshman Emma Weyant by 1.75 seconds in the final.
The University of Pennsylvania student achieved a season-best time of 4:33:24 but her win caused controversy, with critics claiming it was not fair for her to compete against biological females.
And Hungarian Gyorgy, who competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics put out a statement calling for the NCAA change their current rulings.
Thomas, 22, was allowed to compete as she underwent hormone treatment and the regulations were altered this year by US swimming.
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 Gyorgy, who finished 17th in the Division I meet and did not qualify for the finals, believes the stance is "disrespectful" to biological females and says she "can’t help but be angry or sad".
Virginia Tech swimmer Reka Gyorgy has released a full statement on the NCAA allowing Lia Thomas to compete in the 500 freestyle. She was 17th in the event.— Kyle Sockwell (@kylesockwell) March 20, 2022
“Every event that transgender athletes participated in was one spot taken away from biological females throughout the meet” pic.twitter.com/Z0J9lUY3pN
Gyorgy wrote: "I swam the 500 free at NCAA’s on March 17th 2022 where I got 17th which means I didn’t make it back to the finals and was first alternative. I’m a 5th year senior, I have been top 16 and top 8 before and I know how much of a privilege it is to make finals at a meet this big.
"This is my last college meet ever and I feel frustrated. It feels like that final spot was taken away from me because of the NCAA’s decision to let someone who is not a biological female compete. I know you could say I had the opportunity to swim faster and make the top 16, but this situation makes it a bit different and I can’t help but be angry or sad.
‘It hurts me, my team and the other women in the pol. One spot was taken away from the girl who got 9th in the 500 free and didn’t make it back to the A final preventing her from being all American.
"Every event that transgender athletes competed in was one spot away from biological females throughout the meet.
"I ask that the NCAA takes time to think about all the other biological women in swimming, try to think how they would feel if they would be in our shoes,' she said. 'Make the right changes for our sport and for a better future in swimming.
"She has pushed herself to the limit to be the best athlete she could be. She has sacrificed family vacations and holidays for a competition. She has pushed herself to the limit to be the best athlete she could be.
"She is doing what she is passionate about and deserves that right. On the other hand, I would like to critique the NCAA rules that allow her to compete against us, who are biologically women."
Thomas was booed by fans in attendance, while the three swimmers who lost to Thomas, all kept their distance from her on the podium to send a message.
Caitlyn Jenner, who transitioned from male having previously won gold at the men's decathlon event at the 1976 Olympics, was once again vocal about rules for transgender athletes.
She also revealed an interest in speaking to Thomas in the near future.
Thomas, meanwhile, gave a rare interview with SportsCenter and says she does not listen to hate.
“I try to ignore it as much as I can," she said.
"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.”
Featured Image Credit: Image: Virginia Tech & SportsCenter
- Transgender Swimmer Lia Thomas Nominated For Woman Of The Year Award
- Virginia Student Speaks Out In Rare Interview Against Lia Thomas After Teammate Lost Her Place To Trans Swimmer In NCAA Championships
- 'Hypocrite' Caitlyn Jenner Branded A 'Joke' By Furious Fans After She Called Out Transgender Swimmer Lia Thomas
- Trans UPenn Swimmer Lia Thomas Demolished By Swimmer Who Is Transitioning From Female To Male