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Olympic Swimmer Michael Phelps Joins Trans Swimmer Debate

Phelps said that the issues surrounding trans swimmer Lia Thomas are complicated, but that sports should be played on an even playing field

Michael Phelps responded to the growing controversy surrounding University of Pennsylvania transgender swimmer Lia Thomas last week, calling the matter “very complicated.”

Phelps, the most successful and most decorated Olympian of all time with 28 medals, compared the issue of athletes like Thomas to doping to secure a competitive advantage in the pool. 

Phelps spoke to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour this past week about the topic, giving his insights.

“I think this leads back to the organizing committees again,” Phelps said. “Because it has to be a level playing field. I think that’s something that we all need. Because that’s what sports are, and for me, I don’t know where this is going to go. I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Thomas has been monopolizing the pool in women’s swimming competitions this season. Previously she competed on the school’s men’s team. This season’s success has ignited criticism over allowing transgender women to compete against biological females.

The NCAA and its rules on transgender student-athlete participation have received fierce criticism. The organization’s rules require trans women athletes to undergo a minimum of one year of testosterone suppression treatment before competing on a women’s team.

As for Thomas, she switched to the women’s team in 2020. But, she has been receiving the treatment for nearly three years, surpassing the NCAA’s rules on the matter.

Phelps told Amanpour that athletes should feel comfortable in their own skin but admitted he isn’t sure what will happen in the future.

“I don’t know what it looks like in the future. But it’s hard. It’s very complicated, and this is my sport; this has been my sport my whole entire career, and honestly, the one thing I would love is everybody being able to compete on an even playing field,” Phelps said. 

Thomas’ fellow swimmers have not voiced their opinion publicly. However, some have spoken out anonymously, saying that Thomas is arrogant. 

“She compares herself to Jackie Robinson. She said she is like the Jackie Robinson of trans sports,” one of her teammates told the Washington Examiner. Robinson broke barriers as the first black baseball player in the Major League. 

As for now, Thomas will compete at next month’s Ivy League championships and has already qualified for the NCAA championships in March. 


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9 responses to “Olympic Swimmer Michael Phelps Joins Trans Swimmer Debate”

  1. HerrDoktor says:

    Your comment made me realize — there is a VERY GOOD reason the transgender ideologues don’t want a single “trans” category. They would pit trans men against trans women and quickly find that men (“trans women,” they would call them) actually dominate in that area, too.
    The alternative would be two separate “trans” categories, and I can see that being actually amenable to both sides, but that’s probably why they won’t go for it. Their goal is not to fit in to culture, but to change culture to fit their ideals.
    And that’s why they’re trying to force women’s sports to include men who wear dresses.
    Though, I’m confused about the lack of “trans men” in men’s sports. Absolutely bewildered, I tell ya!

  2. HerrDoktor says:

    As larry_fine pointed out below, Phelps is obviously perturbed by this but wants to make a statement without making a stand. To people who agree with the premise of the transgender ideology, this is NOT complicated. To them, when a man says “I am a woman,” boom, he’s a woman. Anyone who thinks that situation is complicated needs to choose between calling the emperor naked or keeping their head down.

    And right now Phelps is keeping his head down.

  3. DoomBaby888 says:

    I’m afraid that this is ridiculous and Phelps needed to be honest and speak the truth. By being mealy mouthed it just puts wind into the sails of a ridiculous non-argument. Men race men, women race women and trans athletes can either have one or two categories. Trans athletes should also be allowed to compete in the sex category of their biological sex.
    Anything else is a complete assault on womens sport and rights. It’s also the thin end of the wedge.

  4. Rawdog says:

    Why is this even being discussed? Us old geezers learned this thing called “biology” in high school. We learned that 99.99999% of all people alive & that have ever been born have/had XX or XY chromosomes in their cells.
    If someone, no matter their name, “pronouns”, or looks is made of cells with XX chromosomes, they are female. If said person were to made of cells with XY chromosomes, they are male.


  5. tjv1 says:

    Who knew that men are bigger, faster and stronger?

  6. sheldon says:

    I offer this up, any swimmer competing against Thomas, in a show of solidarity, need to show up to compete but when the race starts refuse to swim and let Thomas go it alone. The visual would be a Kaepernick-style moment. This would only need to happen once or twice and NCAA’s hands would be tied.

  7. Wolv256 says:

    Nobody is saying trans people can’t compete. They just need to compete against the gender they were born as. Case closed. If you disagree, you are evil and wrong.

  8. Herbie313 says:

    This article is confusing… “she previously competed in the mens division.” What is happening?

  9. larry_fine says:

    “Complicated” is the easy way of saying “It’s very clear what is right but what is right will unleash a mob against me and I don’t want a mob attacking me.”

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