Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas fails in challenge to rules that bar her from Olympics

Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas fails in challenge to rules that bar her from Olympics

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas failed in her challenge against rules that stop her from competing in elite women’s races because judges ruled she did not have standing to bring the case.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport panel of three judges dismissed Thomas’ request for arbitration with the World Aquatics governing body, in a ruling released Wednesday.

World Aquatics banned transgender women who have been through male puberty from competing in women’s races. It also created an “open” category for which transgender athletes would be eligible.


Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas lost her appeal against a rule from World Aquatics governing body barring transgender women from competing in women's races.
Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas lost her appeal against a rule from World Aquatics governing body barring transgender women from competing in women’s races. AP Photo/Josh Reynolds, File

Thomas won a women's swimming NCAA title at the University of Pennsylvania in 2022.
Thomas won a women’s swimming NCAA title at the University of Pennsylvania in 2022. USA TODAY Sports

Thomas had asked the sports court in Switzerland to overturn the rules approved in 2022 that she said were invalid, unlawful and discriminatory.

Thomas swam for the University of Pennsylvania and won an NCAA title in meets that are outside the World Aquatics competitive system, in which she was not registered.

“The panel concludes that she lacks standing to challenge the policy and the operational requirements in the framework of the present proceeding,” the court said in its ruling.

The judges said USA Swimming had no authority “to modify such scope of application” of the world governing body’s rules.

World Aquatics said it welcomed the CAS decision in a case “we believe is a major step forward in our efforts to protect women’s sport.”

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Associated Press

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