Swimmer: “The Integrity of Women’s Sports is Lost”

Female athletes like #RileyGaines deserve more. The war on women is real and not men are telling them they’re not good enough.

Riley Gaines, the Kentucky swimmer who tied transgender swimmer Lia Thomas for fifth in the women’s 200-meter NCAA championships last month, still does not have her trophy.

“No I do not,” she said. “That’s another crazy thing. Once I got out of the water, we kind of go behind the podium to the awards ceremony where they distribute the trophies. So, I walked back there and the NCAA official came up to me and said, ‘Hey, we only have one fifth place trophy’ — which I understood.

“But he said, ‘We’re gonna have to give that trophy to Lia. Yours will be coming in the mail. Great job.’ I was kind of taken aback. I don’t think he necessarily expected me to really question it, but I was like, ‘Okay, I understand, but can I ask why you’re choosing to give the trophy to Lia?’”

Gaines claims that the NCAA official responded, “Well, we’re just giving the trophies out in chronological order.”

“So then, I was thinking, ‘Chronological order. We just tied. I don’t really know what we’re being chronological about. So can you explain?’ He kind of just looked at me and said, ‘We have to give the trophy to Lia but we respect and admire you so much.’ Gaines said. 

“So at this point he basically admitted to me that the NCAA was trying to save face. I don’t think they handled this properly, but I don’t think they were prepared to handle this kind of situation. They were faced with something they were unsure what to do with.”

“At this point, I was really frustrated, and I said to them, ‘This is the women’s 200-yard freestyle, Lia won a national title last night, and I worked every day of the last four years for this.’ Which, not saying that Lia or any of the other swimmers there hadn’t, because it’s such a big deal to get to that point,” Gaines said. “Only the top one percent of college athletes make it to this meet. You have to fight for every point. I was frustrated with how this was handled and how they addressed me.”