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March 21, 2022
Female Swimmer Who Lost Spot to Lia Thomas Issues Open Letter to NCAA, Calls On Them to 'Open Their Eyes'
Reka Gyorgy, a two-time All-American swimmer, didn't qualify for the last meet of her college career. Lia Thomas did and won the NCAA title. There's a debate as to the fairness of the event. While Reka and Lia are both women in the eyes of the NCAA, the media, and Facebook's community guidelines, Lia is the only one who went through puberty as a male. It is believed that (and science) gives Lia an unfair advantage. Lia once competed as a male and was ranked #472. Now, competing as a female, Lia is the #1 female swimmer in America and just shattered a glass ceiling by becoming the first transgender competitor to win an NCAA title.
One of Reka's teammates went viral over the weekend speaking of the heartbreak of having the opportunity taken from her. Reka released an open letter in her own words. She doesn't fault Lia, who she claims made the same sacrifices as the other female athletes. Reka puts the blame on the NCAA for allowing this to happen.
Virginia Tech swimmer Reka Gyorgy has released a full statement on the NCAA allowing Lia Thomas to compete in the 500 freestyle. She was 17th in the event.
“Every event that transgender athletes participated in was one spot taken away from biological females throughout the meet” pic.twitter.com/Z0J9lUY3pN
— Kyle Sockwell (@kylesockwell) March 20, 2022
Reka's letter can be read in its entirety here. Her biggest issue with the NCAA is that the rules should be fair to ALL competitors, and not just the ones the media has decided is a protected class free from criticism.
"It feels like that final spot was taken away from me because of the NCAA’s decision to let someone who is not a biological female compete. [...] Every event that transgender athletes competed in was one spot taken away from biological females throughout the meet. [...] The NCAA knew what was coming this past week. They knew opinions and minds will be divided and chose to do nothing. This week has been more about reporters, media, and division in our sport. [...] I ask that the NCAA takes time to think about all the other biological women in swimming, try to think how they would feel if they would be in our shoes."
Reka isn't the only athlete struggling. Brooke Forde placed 4th in the event in which Lia Thomas shattered the glass ceiling. Forde's father is Sports Illustrated reporter Pat Forde. He hasn't spoken up for his daughter, as of yet. But Sports Illustrated featured Lia on their cover to celebrate her beautiful bravery.
This debate shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. If I were to guess, Lia Thomas will be invited to the White House to celebrate her victory.
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