- The Washington Times
Wednesday, January 19, 2022

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. 

Phelps, 36, compared the situation to doping instead of directly talking about the Thomas controversy.

“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 jmeyer@washingtontimes.com.

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