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Lia Thomas will not participate in the Olympic Games after Court of Arbitration for Sport rejects her appeal

It was concluded that the trans swimmer does not even meet the eligibility criteria of the American Swimming Federation for Elite competitions.

Lia Thomas (c) y otro

Los nadadores trans Lia Thomas (c) e Iszac Henig (I), primero y segundo en una competición femenina. (

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Lia Thomas will not be at the Olympic Games. The Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected the appeal presented by the trans swimmer against the International Swimming Federation (World Aquatics) after this organization banned the participation of people who "have experienced any part of male puberty " in 2022.

Thomas called for WA rules to be declared "invalid and unlawful"

In his appeal, Thomas argued that these rules should be declared "invalid and unlawful" as they are contrary to the Olympic Charter and the Statutes of world swimming. However, the 24-page sentence concludes that the trans swimmer "simply had no right to participate in WA competitions" by not even meeting USA Swimming's eligibility criteria for "elite events." It further points out that the athlete "did not apply for – let alone was granted – the right to participate in 'Elite Events' within the meaning of the USA Swimming Policy. She is currently only entitled to compete in USA Swimming-events that do not qualify as 'Elite Events'.”

According to Paragraph 4(c) of the USA Swimming Policy, the notion of "Elite Events" encompasses many different national and international events, including all WA Competitions:

“[…] Any United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (“USOPC”) Delegation Event and/or Protected Competition as defined in the USOPC Bylaws; World Aquatics Events; Pan Pacific Championships; World University Games; USA Swimming Nationals, Junior Nationals, U.S. Open, International Team Trials, U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Swimming; and/or any other competition designated by USA Swimming as an “Elite Event” and any other event which conditions entry on meeting the USA Swimming Junior National Time Standard or faster. For purposes of this Policy, Elite Events shall also include any other competition in which a qualifying time standard is achieved for entry into the other Elite Events described above or to be eligible to set an American or National Age-Group Record at the 13-14 level or above.

Thomas does not have the right to participate in US Swimming "Elite Events"

One of the key criteria to be able to be part of the national team in international competitions, according to USA Swimming, is precisely the ability to participate in events organized by WA and meeting its requirements. After the modifications approved in 2022 to address the participation of biological men in the female category, these are:

The Challenged Provisions of the Policy apply to transgender women […] athletes (“Transgender Women Athletes”) and 46XY DSD Athletes who (i) wish to compete in women’s category in WA competitions and (ii) wish to set World Records in the women’s category at WA competitions and in other events recognised by WA. The Challenged Provisions provide that such athletes are eligible to compete in the women’s category if they can establish to WA’s comfortable satisfaction that:
  • They have complete androgen insensitivity and therefore could not experience male puberty; or
  • They are androgen sensitive but had male puberty suppressed beginning at Tanner Stage 2 or before age twelve, whichever is later; and have since continuously maintained their testosterone levels below 2,5nmol/L. (the “Eligibility Conditions”).

Furthermore, the panel in charge of the case noted that Thomas "was not a member of USA Swimming at the time of the initiation of these proceedings," therefore, "he lacks any interest worthy of protection in the appealed matter."

"A major step forward in our efforts to protect women’s sports"

WA welcomed the ruling, calling it "a major step forward in our efforts to protect women's sport. World Aquatics is dedicated to fostering an environment that promotes fairness, respect and equal opportunities for athletes of all genders and we reaffirm this pledge," according to The Guardian.

Also sharing in the joy is Riley Gaines, champion of the fight to defend women's sports from the participation of biological men. In a publication on X, the former swimmer said that Thomas' exclusion from the Olympics is "great news" and assured that it is "a victory for women and girls everywhere."