Fans react to transgender swimmer Lia Thomas’ Olympics ban as Riley Gaines celebrates ‘a victory for women and girls everywhere’

Riley Gaines has led the celebrations on social media after transgender swimmer Lia Thomas lost her legal battle to compete in women’s events at the Olympic Games.

Thomas had asked the Court of Arbitration for Sport to overturn a ban on biological males competing against women in a bid to race at this summer’s Games in Paris.

After World Aquatics changed its policies so that transgender women can only compete in women’s races if they have completed their transition by the age of 12, the 25-year-old argued those rules should be declared ‘invalid and unlawful’.

However, in a decision handed down at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, it was concluded on Wednesday that Thomas wasn’t ‘entitled to engage with eligibility to compete in WA competitions’ – thus banning her from women’s Olympics events.

The ruling has been widely praised on social media, with former University of Kentucky swimmer Gaines branding it ‘a victory for women and girls everywhere’.

Riley Gaines

Riley Gaines (right) has led the celebrations on social media after transgender swimmer Lia Thomas (left) lost her legal battle to compete in women’s events at the Olympic Games

A ruling concluded that Thomas, pictured alongside Gaines in 2022, is not allowed to compete in women's swimming events ahead of this summer's Games in Paris

A ruling concluded that Thomas, pictured alongside Gaines in 2022, is not allowed to compete in women’s swimming events ahead of this summer’s Games in Paris

Gaines, who competed against Thomas back in 2022, wrote on X: ‘Great news! Lia Thomas won’t be able to compete in women’s category at the Olympics or any other elite competition. He has just lost his legal battle in Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling. 

‘This is a victory for women and girls everywhere’.

Sports fans also took to social media to laud the ruling barring Thomas from women’s swimming events.

One commented: ‘It’s about time ! This was not just cheating: this was STEALING! SHAME on this person!’

Another put: ‘100% agree. Women deserve a level playing field for completion so that it is fair. Men in women’s sports isn’t fair to women.’

A third posted: ‘Fantastic! Sanity prevails for a change!’

While one concluded: ‘Should have happened a long time ago’.

Thomas first rose to prominence after becoming the first transgender athlete to win a NCAA college title in 2022.

Gaines branded the ruling on Thomas 'a victory for women and girls everywhere'

Gaines branded the ruling on Thomas ‘a victory for women and girls everywhere’

Fans also took to social media to praise the decision to ban Thomas from competing

Fans also took to social media to praise the decision to ban Thomas from competing

However, World Aquatics introduced their new rules after Thomas beat Olympic silver medalist Emma Weyant by 1.75 sec to win NCAA gold.

In a scientific document backing their ban on those who have ‘undergone any part of male puberty’, WA said swimmers like Thomas retained physical advantages. 

They said that such advantages included endurance, power, speed, strength and lung size, even after reducing their testosterone levels through medication. 

On Wednesday, the court ruled that Thomas had no standing to sue the transgender policy.

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