'Trans athlete stole my spot in final': Swimmer who lost out to Lia Thomas breaks silence

21 March 2022, 15:07 | Updated: 21 March 2022, 16:10

2022 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championship
2022 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championship. Picture: Getty

By Megan Hinton

A swimmer has hit out at the National Collegiate Athletic Association for "not protecting" biologically female athletes, after she missed out on a final spot at its championships to a transgender rival.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Reka Gyorgy of Virginia Tech finished 17th in the freestyle swimming competition, meaning she was one place outside of making the consolation final, in an event that transgender swimmer Lia Thomas won.

After the defeat, the Reka Gyorgy took to social media to accuse the Lia of "stealing" her place in the finals claiming "every event that transgender athletes competed in was one spot taken away from biological females".

Ms Thomas, 22, made history this week by becoming the first transgender person to win a US National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I title. She won the 500-yard freestyle in Atlanta but received a chorus of boos.

Ms Thomas previously swam for the Pennsylvanian men's team before beginning hormone replacement therapy in 2019.

But US swimming updated its policy earlier this year, to allow transgender athletes to swim in elite events.

Read more: Women 'discriminated against' in sport due to trans participation, ex-GB athlete claims

Read more: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: I should have been freed six years ago

In an open letter posted on Reka Gyorgy's private Instagram she wrote: "With all due respect, I would like to address something that is a problem in our sport right now and hurting athletes, especially female swimmers.

"Everyone has heard and known about transgender swimmer, Lia Thomas, and her case including all the issues and concerns that her situation brought into our sport.

"I’d like to point out that I respect and fully stand with Lia Thomas; I am convinced that she is no different than me or any other D1 swimmer who has woken up at 5am her entire life for morning practice.

"She has sacrificed family vacations and holidays for a competition. She has pushed herself to the limit to be the best athlete she could be. She is doing what she is passionate about and deserves that right.

"On the other hand, I would like to critique the NCAA rules that allow her to compete against us, who are biologically women."

"I’m writing this letter right now in hopes that the NCAA will open their eyes and change these rules in the future. It doesn’t promote our sport in a good way and I think it is disrespectful against the biologically female swimmers who are competing in the NCAA," she added.

Ms Thomas has undergone the required hormone treatment to meet the rules for transgender athletes, but critics say her performances prove that she still retains an unfair advantage as a result of her going through male puberty.

Read more: Putin behind hoax calls targeting British MPs as he 'tries to hide battlefield failings'

Read more: Man accused of murdering Sir David Amess 'scoped out Michael Gove's home to plan attack'

Trans inclusion in women's sport discriminating against females

"It feels like the final spot was taken from me because of the NCAA’s decision to let someone who is not a biological female compete," she wrote.

"I know you could say I had the opportunity to swim faster and make the top 16, but this situation makes it a bit different and I can’t help but be angry or sad. It hurts me, my team and other women in the pool. One spot was taken away from the girl who got 9th in the 500 free and didn't make it back to the A final preventing her from being an All-American.

"Every event that transgender athletes competed in was one spot taken away from biological females throughout the meet."

Gyorgy ended the latter saying the controversy surrounding the win "is the result of the NCAA and their lack of interest in protecting their athletes".

"I ask the NCAA takes time to think about all the other biological women in swimming, try to think how the would feel if they would be in our shoes. Make the right changes for our sport and for a better future in swimming," the letter concluded.

Read more: Russian strikes obliterate Kyiv shopping centre leaving at least eight dead

Read more: 'Woke' police force recruits 'get sick when blue lights are on and bring parents to work'

Rachel Johnson: 'Is there any scope for having a Trans Olympics?'

Reka Gyorgy is not the only athlete to publicly criticise the NCAA's decision to allow transgender women to comepte in events after three college swimmers who were also beaten by Lia Thomas staged a protest on the podium, with Ms Thomas being booed loudly as she claimed first place.

GB Olympic medallist Sharron Davies MBE also told LBC that women have "lost the ability to win their own races" because trans athletes compete in female categories.

"Athletes have been silenced, coaches have been silenced, people have been silenced from voicing their honest concerns" about trans inclusion in female sport, Sharron Davies told Andrew Castle.

Ms Davies argued that "Lia Thomas is still a male", stating that because Ms Thomas has gone through male puberty she has an advantage over her competitors even before hormones come into the debate.

Trans caller shares real-life impact of segregating sport

"Women are going to lose the ability to win their own races."

Andrew backed Ms Davies' points, stating that the ethical concerns are "so obvious".

The former GB athlete called for a "protected female classification and an open, inclusive classification" to solve the issue.

"Women are now being discriminated against in their own category of sport" she went on, telling listeners that "we spend millions around the world to stop people cheating with drugs", suggesting that trans athletes gain an advantage on par with doping.

"The conversation has been closed down and that's the toxic part."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Then-veterans' minister Johnny Mercer arrives at Downing Street for a Cabinet meeting

Ex-minister Johnny Mercer will not face jail after handing over names of sources who told him about SAS Afghan 'war crimes'

A lawyer said the man who was kicked by the police officer in Manchester Airport has a cyst on the brain

Man kicked in head by policeman at Manchester Airport has 'cyst on brain', his lawyer says, as officer suspended

A mourner pays his respects a memorial at Robb Elementary School (Eric Gay/AP)

Uvalde school police officer pleads not guilty to charges over 2022 shooting

The video shows police kicking and stamping on a man on the ground

Footage of officer kicking man in Manchester Airport after 'arrivals hall incident' is 'not clear cut', says mayor

Esther Martin died after being attacked by two XL Bullies, inquest hears

Rapper charged with dangerous dogs offences after XL Bullies maul grandmother to death

Firefighters evacuating residents during floods in Pintung county, Taiwan

Typhoon Gaemi hits China after leaving 25 dead in Taiwan and Philippines

Iryna Farion

Teenage suspect held over assassination of Ukrainian language advocate

Radcliffe has issued her second apology following yesterday's comments.

‘Ashamed’ Paula Radcliffe issues further apology after wishing child rapist athlete good luck at Olympics

The NHS has issued an urgent call for blood donors

Less than two days left of Type O blood after Russian cyber attack, NHS warns as health bosses call for donors

US Medal of Honor to be auctioned.

Rare Medal of Honor awarded to Ukrainian soldier to be auctioned with proceeds to Ukraine charity

Meta logo

Meta panel says deepfake policies need update amid controversy over nude images

Climate protesters demonstrate at the National Gallery in London

Just Stop Oil activists guilty of criminal damage after throwing tinned soup over Vincent van Gogh's Sunflowers

Amanda Abbington quit the show in 2023, citing 'personal reasons'.

Strictly star Giovanni Pernice breaks silence after Amanda Abbington compares show to 'the trenches'

Queen Mary

Queen Mary mowed down by electric scooter during Royal meet and greet with fans in Greenland

James Heappey says the Conservatives should not drift to the right.

Suella Braverman is the 'Conservative equivalent' of Jeremy Corbyn, says James Heappey

Starmer said GB Energy would bring down energy bills

Keir Starmer claims new publicly owned energy company GB Energy will bring bills down within five years