Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas loses legal challenge, ruling her ineligible for 2024 Olympics

Lia Thomas, the transgender swimmer who gained national attention after winning a 2022 NCAA Division I individual title, has lost her challenge in a fight against the rules that keep her from competing at a higher level.

A panel of three judges from the Court of Arbitration for Sport dismissed the 25-year-old’s request for arbitration with the World Aquatics governing body.

Thomas filed the necessary legal paperwork in January against World Aquatics for its current policy, which was put in place several months after Thomas won her title, that restricts transgender athletes who had previously experienced male puberty from competing in elite women’s competitions.

While they banned transgender athletes from competing against women, World Aquatics created an “open” category in which transgender athletes were allowed to compete.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – MARCH 18: Lia Thomas looks on from the podium after finishing fifth in the 200 Yard Freestyle during the 2022 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming & Diving Championship at the McAuley Aquatic Center on the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology on March 18, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Comer/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

On Wednesday, a panel of judges determined Thomas did not have any standing to challenge the federation’s policy.

They stated that since “for the time being” she is not eligible to compete in events through World Aquatics or USA Swimming, so the policy is not applicable.

“She is currently only entitled to compete in USA Swimming events that do not qualify as ‘Elite Events.’”

The ruling comes days before the U.S. Olympic swimming trials are set to begin.

Through a statement provided by her legal team, Thomas expressed her disappointment.

“Blanket bans preventing trans women from competing are discriminatory and deprive us of valuable athletic opportunities that are central to our identities. The CAS decision should be seen as a call to action to all trans women athletes to continue to fight for our dignity and human rights.”






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