Michael Phelps recently became the latest famous athlete to weigh in on the situation with University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas, calling the success of the transgender swimmer “very complicated.”
Phelps, speaking with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour last week, didn’t directly take a stance, but the 23-time Olympic gold medalist said the most important thing is for sports to have a “level playing field.”
“That’s what sports are,” Phelps said. “For me, I don’t know where this is going to go or what’s going to happen. I believe that we all should feel comfortable with who we are in our own skin, but I think sports should all be played at an even playing field.”
Thomas, a senior at Penn, competed on the men’s team for three years before moving over to the women’s squad following one year of hormone replacement therapy, per NCAA rules. This season, Thomas, who is now more than two years into hormone therapy, is seeing massive success in the pool, outpacing the field and breaking records.
Reacting to ongoing debate over trans college athlete Lia Thomas competing on the women’s swimming team, “it’s very complicated,” says @MichaelPhelps. “We all should feel comfortable with who we are in our own skin. But I think sports should be played on an even playing field.” pic.twitter.com/brsq7t2vJW— Christiane Amanpour (@amanpour) January 13, 2022
“I can talk from a standpoint of doping. I don’t think I’ve competed in a clean field in my entire career,” he said. “So I think this leads back to the organizing committees again, because it has to be a level playing field.”
• Jacob Calvin Meyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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