Riley Gaines, who tied with biological male Lia Thomas, for fifth in the women’s 200 freestyle Friday at the NCAA Division I Women’s Championships said officials put the transgender athlete ahead of her.
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When it came time to get her award, Gaines told The Daily Wire an NCAA official told her there was only one fifth-place trophy, which would be given to Thomas.
Gaines, a senior at the University of Kentucky, told the conservative outlet she argued with the official before taking the stand and forced to hold a sixth-place trophy for the cameras.
“Ok that’s fine, she worked hard, just like I worked hard, there’s no question there,” Gaines told the official. “But can I ask why she gets the fifth-place trophy before I do? Especially last night, she just won the national title.”
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The official told Gaines her trophy would be coming in the mail.
NEW: I spoke with Riley Gaines, a University of Kentucky swimmer who tied for 5th in the 200 freestyle with biologically male/trans swimmer Lia Thomas this weekend. Riley shares that she was told to hold the 6th place trophy for pictures, and much more. https://t.co/93wJ4ElYRN— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) March 23, 2022
“I just want you to know that we respect you and admire your swim so much, but we just want Lia to hold the fifth-place trophy,” she said the official told her.
Gaines told the official it wasn’t fair and accused the NCAA of trying to save face.
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“I left the pool with no trophy,” Gaines said. “Not a big deal, but it was the goal that I had set all year.”
The audience loudly cheered for Gaines and boos and silence could be heard for Thomas.
Here’s the reaction for Lia Thomas on the podium for the 200Y Freestyle— Jon Root (@JonnyRoot_) March 18, 2022
Cheers for Riley Gaines. Boos and mostly silence for Lia Thomas.
Lia finished tied for 5th pic.twitter.com/59DVMH2jPD