Video shows Lia Thomas BOOED despite win while crowd goes WILD for second-placed Emma Weyant
A video on social media shows University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas receiving hostility from the crowd after she became the first transgender NCAA champion in Division I history by winning the women’s 500-yard freestyle. Thomas, who previously swam for the men’s team at Pennsylvania, finished ahead of second-placed Emma Weyant of the University of Virginia.
The video taken at the Georgia Institute of Technology arena in Atlanta on Thursday, March 17 shows the crowd cheering and clapping enthusiastically for second-placed Emma Weyant while Thomas was greeted with a notable lack of cheers. Thomas was also booed by the crowd after giving an interview to ESPN following her victory. During the interview, Thomas said she tries to ignore the divisive debate about whether she or other transgender athletes should be able to compete in competitive sports. She said, “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.”
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NCAA- As winners are announced crowd goes wild for 2nd place winner of the 500Y Freestyle.— Sav (@RapidFire_Pod) March 17, 2022
Crowd goes quiet as Thomas is announced first place. pic.twitter.com/fh5sVvlVxc
Ahead of the NCAA event in Atlanta, members of the Concerned Women for America staged a protest against Thomas’ participation. On Thursday, the group said, “We filed a formal civil rights complaint against UPenn”, alleging that they are not protecting the rights of female athletes under Title IX by allowing Thomas to compete. Penny Nance, CEO and president of the group, said in a statement, “The future of women’s sports is at risk and the equal rights of female athletes are being infringed.”
GOP Illinois congresswoman Mary Miller shared an article about parents' concerns regarding speaking out against Thomas competing against their daughters. Miller tweeted that she "will never be afraid to speak out in defense of our daughters, even if I am the only one." She wrote, "Our girls deserve better, and they have been abandoned by adults who are afraid of being criticized by radical leftists. Ignore them and their 'power' disappears."
A picture speaks a thousand words. #SaveWomensSports pic.twitter.com/RttZk1JuRL— Anya Palmer (@anyabike) March 18, 2022
Schuyler Bailar, who became the first known transgender man to compete on a Division I men’s team while racing with Harvard, praised Thomas for continuing to swim amid the uproar. Bailar told ESPN, “It’s a symbol of Lia’s resilience. The fact that she’s able to show up here, despite protesters outside, people shouting and booing her, I think it’s a testament to her resiliency. And it’s also a symbol that we can both be who we are and do what we love.”