Who is Emma Weyant? Outpouring of support for swimmer who finished second to Lia Thomas

20-year-old Weyant, of Florida, swims for the University of Virginia and represented Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics 2020


                            Who is Emma Weyant? Outpouring of support for swimmer who finished second to Lia Thomas
Trans swimmer Lia Thomas (R) beat biologically female swimming champ Emma Weyant (L) on Thursday (Instagram/@emmaweyant, Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
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Emma Weyant, the college swimmer who was placed second to transgender athlete Lia Thomas in a race Thursday night, March 17, has been praised as the "real winner" of the event.

20-year-old Weyant, of Florida, swims for the University of Virginia and represented Team USA at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, where she secured silver in the 400-meter Individual Medley event. On Thursday, however, she was beaten by 22-year-old Thomas, who is the first trans athlete to win a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) swimming championship.

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Thomas's controversial win drew boos and jeers as she was handed her trophy. The UPenn swimmer won the 500-yard freestyle in Atlanta in a time of 4 minutes, 33.24 seconds, while Weyant swam 4:34.99. The crowd was arguably more enthusiastic when cheering for Weyant, as compared to Thomas, who was crowned shortly after.

 


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The trans swimmer has continued to face allegations of having an unfair advantage over her rivals after having gone through male puberty. ''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 I just try to block out everything else," Thomas told ESPN of the response after the race. "It means the world to be here, to be with two of my best friend and teammates and be able to compete," she added.

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Who is Emma Weyant?

Born December 24, 2001, Weyant is an American competitive swimmer who was the US national champion in individual medley. She attended Riverview High School in Sarasota and currently competes for the Sarasota Sharks. As mentioned, she qualified for the 2020 Olympic games in the 400m individual medley and won silver. In her debut season at the University of Virginia, Weyant finished second place in the 500-yard freestyle at the NCAA Division I Women's Swimming and Diving Championships.

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Weyant was lauded on social media as the "real winner" of the Thursday event.

"Congratulations to Emma Weyant for being the real winner of the woman’s 500," former UFC fighter Jake Shields tweeted.

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"Congrats to Virginia freshman Emma Weyant, the woman who would have won tonight’s NCAA title in the 500 meters if women’s sports were still sane," talk radio host Clay Travis commented.

"Meet Emma Weyant — the young lady that SHOULD be holding a gold medal for winning the NCAA National Championship …if only she hadn’t been forced to compete against a biological man," Arizona gubernatorial hopeful Kari Lake added.

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"Emma Weyant placed second tonight to Lia Thomas... but she was first overall vagina," comedian Tim Young quipped.
 


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Thomas quickly became the world's most controversial athlete after swimming for three years on the university men's team before transitioning in 2019. She has since delivered a series of record-breaking performances and her continued wins have sparked widespread outrage. Thomas has undergone the hormone treatment required to meet current rules for trans athletes, but critics believe her stunning victories prove that she still enjoys a considerable advantage while competing with biological females.

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