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“I think sports should be played on an even playing field,” said Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, referring to the controversy that has been generated around the participation of trans swimmer Lia Thomas in women’s competitions.
“I think this leads back to the organizing committees again because it has to be a level playing field. That’s something that we all need. Because that’s what sports are. For me, I don’t know where this is going to go. I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Phelps said during an interview with Christiane Amanpour on CNN.
Michael Phelps’ reaction to the controversy
Phelps’ comments come at a time when criticism has arisen for allowing Lia Thomas, a transgender swimmer, to participate in women’s competitions, where she has also achieved records. According to Fox News, Thomas previously competed for three years on the men’s team.
In December 2021, parents of female swimmers at the University of Pennsylvania denounced Thomas’ advantages. In a letter sent to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), accessed by Daily Mail, the family members call the current rules a “direct threat to female athletes in every sport.”
“What’s at stake here is the integrity of women’s sports,” they said.
One parent, who asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation, spoke to the media outlet and explained that many parents and competitors do not report the situation for fear of being condemned. Another source explained that they feel Thomas has an advantage over the female competitors.