WATCH: Lia Thomas Stands Tall Amidst Boos as Rivals Protest On Podium

Published 03/19/2022, 9:15 AM EDT
Lia Thomas, the first transgender woman to win at the NCAA championships.

Lia Thomas has sparked a lot of controversies after she won the NCAA Championships. Notably, Lia is the first transgender woman to win the championship. However, her road to victory was far from easy. Questioning her qualification for the races, Lia continues to garner harsh criticism.

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Reportedly, Lia Thomas first competed as a male swimmer for three years at the University level. However, upon returning post the covid-19 break, Lia competed as a woman. While her participation caused an uproar, she won the NCAA Championships with record time, to the disliking of many.

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When she stood on the podium to get her medal, she didn’t receive the most ideal reception from fans. The audience was not happy with Lia Thomas taking home the trophy. While they cheered the 1st runner-up, Emma Weyant, the crowd went silent as Lia stood tall

Crowd boos as Lia Thomas stands on the podium to receive her medal

Controversy has surrounded Lia Thomas since the time she was allowed the compete in the women’s swimming events. From fellow competitors to even netizens online, many have protested against her participation for different reasons.

However, on Friday, Lia represented the University of Pennsylvania and won the race with a time of 4:33.24. She beat Virginia’s Emma Weyant, whose final time was 4:34.99.

 

Visibly, the crowd was not at all happy to see Lia win. When the winners stood at the podium to receive their well-deserved medals, there was resounding applause for the runners-up. But when Lia Thomas was announced as the winner of the dive, she failed to receive a similar response. In fact, as she was awarded the trophy, multiple boos from the crowd were heard.

In a shot that stood out, the runners up can be seen standing together, posing for a photo, while Lia stood alone.

This was not all. According to SwimSwam, someone yelled, “Cheater!” while Thomas was on the block prior to the race. There were several protests held against Lia as well.

The crowd was empathetic towards Emma, who, according to them, was their real winner. Weyant won the silver medal in the 400-meter individual medley at the 2020 Olympic Games.

Erica Sullivan comes to Thomas’ defense

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The third-place finisher in the finals, Erica Sullivans, has, however, openly come out in support of Lia Thomas. She believes that Thomas is being unfairly targeted.

“She deserves, like anyone else in this sport, to be celebrated for her hard-won success, not labeled a cheater simply because of her identity,” said Erica Sullivan.

Sullivan empathizes and understands the hardships that Lia is going through. She expressed that there are “bigger ” threats to women in sports than a transgender women competing alongside them.

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Richa Goswami

552 articles

Richa Goswami is a US Sports writer at EssentiallySports. As an adherent learner, she uses her journalistic persona to navigate through new skills. Richa has completed her schooling at Don Bosco.

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