Caitlyn Jenner slammed the NCAA for ‘not being tough enough’ over its decision to allow transgender University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas to compete in its national championships this week – and claimed the 22-year-old ‘was taking it easy’ so she wouldn’t smash Katie Ledecky’s world record.
Jenner, 72, who competed in the 1976 Olympics as Bruce Jenner and transitioned to female in 2015, said she has ‘no problem with Lia Thomas,’ but rather blames the NCAA for going ‘all the way up to the Olympic Committee.’
‘[Thomas’] playing within the rules. What I’ve said from the beginning [are] the rules aren’t tough enough,’ Jenner said of the hot button issue on Fox News. ‘Just being on testosterone depressants for a year or two, whatever the rules are now, they keep changing, obviously, it is not enough.’
Thomas has become the icon on transgender athletes, especially male to female, and brought forward the discussion to the national standpoint.
Jenner went on to say that she figured Thomas took it ‘very easy’ in the pool, so she wouldn’t break any records. However, Thomas did win the 500-yard finals last night and placed second in the 200m free swim preliminary race today.
Thomas was nine seconds short of breaking Olympian Katie Ledecky’s world record in the 500-yard freestyle.
‘Lia Thomas just dominated in the pool, and I’m sure she took it quite easily because she did not want to win by too much,’ the I am Cait star said.
‘I think she was probably taking it very easy in the race because she knew the world was watching, and she’s just going to go fast enough to be able to win the race,’ Jenner said on Fox News.
Olympian and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, 72, slammed the NCAA for ‘not being tough enough’ with the rules and allowing transgender University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas, 22, to compete. ‘What I’ve said from the beginning [are] the rules aren’t tough enough,’ she said. ‘Just being on testosterone depressants for a year or two, whatever the rules are now, they keep changing, obviously it is not enough’
Thomas (pictured with her trophy on Thursday) said she tries to ‘ignore’ the criticism and backlash she faces as a trans-athlete, but Jenner said she ‘can’t block it all out’ and ‘banning all trans-athletes, that’s not fair’
The Olympian also said she wanted to sit down and talk with Thomas ‘for an hour’ to hear her out on her ‘motivation,’ but slid past revealing if she had actually reached out to the college student.
‘Honestly, I would love to talk to Lia Thomas,’ the father of Kylie and Kendall Jenner said on Friday. ‘I would love to sit down for an hour and discuss this issue with her. I don’t think she’s done anything wrong. She’s played by the rules, but I want to know what her motivation is. If she feels good about this, what’s going on in her head?’
Yesterday, after winning the 500-yard freestyle, Thomas told an ESPN reporter that she just tries to ‘ignore’ the backlash and criticism she faces as a trans-athlete. Jenner agreed trans-athletes received a ton of criticism because there’s ‘just very few of them.’
‘The trans-athlete is such a small, small part of athletics,’ Jenner said on Friday.
Jenner defended her controversial statement earlier this month that she doesn’t think ‘biological boys should compete in women’s sports.’ Despite her disagreement with Thomas’ eligibility to compete she said she has ‘no problem’ with Thomas and the swimmer was ‘playing within the rules’
‘Ok, I get that,’ she said of Thomas’ response to criticism. ‘She’s tried to block it all out, but it’s almost impossible to block that stuff out that she’s doing. I respect her 100 per cent, and we live in a free country to live authentically, the greatest gift in my life and I hope it is the best for her.
‘But also with that comes some integrity about what you are doing. She can’t block it all out because obviously I think she could have swam that race a lot faster and she didn’t because she didn’t want to get too much attention.
‘I would just love to have the opportunity to talk to her and find out what’s in her head.’
Co-host John Roberts also asked Jenner how he felt about tennis player Martina Navratilova controversial comments about putting an asterisk next to trans-athletes wins when they compete against biological women.
The tennis player said: ‘It’s not about excluding transgender women from winning ever, but it is about not allowing them to win when they were not anywhere near winning as men.
Thomas is nine seconds off of Katie Ledecky’s 500-yard world record (pictured: Ledecky at the 2020 Olympics)
Thomas swam a 1.42.09 (circled), allowing her to replace the current second-place swimmer Isabel Ivey, who swam a 1.42.24. Taylor Ruck, who swam a 1.41.89, won the entire 200m free swim preliminary race on Friday
Seen swimming in Lane 4 (circled) heads farther than the nearest swimmer – University of Southern California Laticia-Leig Transom – Lane 5 (left of Thomas). Thomas won the eight-person race, pulling in second overall in the event. Transon, who placed second in the eight-person, pulled out fifth overall in the event on Friday
‘If Lia Thomas wins, there should be an asterisk next to her name’: Tennis icon Martina Navratilova blasts trans swimmer Lia Thomas as she smashes her competition
Martina Navratilova on Thursday spoke out against Thomas being allowed to compete as an equal against women – hours before Thomas became the first transgender NCAA champion
Martina Navratilova has called for transgender swimmer Lia Thomas to have an asterisk by her name when she wins women’s races, arguing that the 22-year-old athlete’s racing against biological females is unfair and should be noted.
Navratilova, widely considered to be among the world’s greatest ever tennis players, spoke out amid Thomas’s historic victory on Thursday night at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championships in Georgia.
‘It’s not about excluding transgender women from winning ever,’ the 65-year-old said. ‘But it is about not allowing them to win when they were not anywhere near winning as men.’
‘You try to keep it as close as possible to what it would had been, were you born in the female biological body in the first place,’ she said.
‘And even saying that, people take exception to – biological female. People don’t even want to use those words.
‘I don’t know what else to say. Other than that.’
‘But the solution perhaps for now is to swim in a lane; you can compete but you don’t get the medal. Because the rules are not correct. But right now, the rules are what they are. Maybe put an asterisk there,’ Navratilova said on News Nation Prime.
Jenner became visibly irritated when he responded with: ‘Banning all trans-athletes, that’s not fair!
‘We only hear about the male to female, never hear about the other side,’ the former star of Keeping Up with the Kardashians said. ‘But when you ban like that, across the board, what about the subject is so much bigger than that.
‘We have to look into it. It really needs to be done on an individual basis and it needs to be done properly. Sports [are] good, everyone deserves to be able to compete in sports.’
Jenner also reviewed he was getting ‘tired’ of all talking about the subject. Earlier this month, Jenner said its ‘just not fair’ to allow biological boys to compete in women’s sports.
‘I don’t think biological boys should compete in women’s sports — we have to protect women’s sports,’ says Caitlyn. ‘That’s the bottom line.’
Pink News slammed the reality TV star, calling her ‘anti-trans’ for her rhetoric on the UPenn swimmer.
However, Jenner didn’t shy away from the controversy and responded back on Twitter.
‘No, I just had the balls to stand up for women and girls in sports,’ she wrote.
Thomas became the first transgender athlete to win a National Collegiate Athletic Association swimming championship in the 500-yard freestyle on Thursday night.
And although she placed second overall in Friday’s 200m free swim preliminary race, she will still swim in tonight’s final, giving her a shot at placing first again.
Thomas pulled in at second place with a time of 1.42.09 seconds, barely a second behind Stanford swimmer Taylor Ruck, who won the event with a time of 1.41.89 seconds. Ruck swan in a separate heat, but placed first overall.
In a video from her heat, Thomas – who is in Lane 4 – can be seen swimming far ahead of other swimmers in the final lap toward the finish line.
At first, it appeared Thomas was trailing behind University of Southern California swimmer Laticia Transom – in Lane 5 – who finished the race with a time of 1.42.93 – coming in second in the eight-person heat with Thomas, but fifth overall for the event.