Ron DeSantis dismisses Lia Thomas win as a ‘lie’ and honors second place instead

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis refuses to recognize transgender swimmer Lia Thomas’ victory in the NCAA last week and says the state is choosing to honor runner-up and Sarasota native Emma Weyant as winner of the 500 meter freestyle.

On Tuesday, the governor issued a proclamation declaring Weyant the ‘rightful winner’ of the race, saying the NCAA’s decision to allow the University of Pennsylvania’s Thomas to compete and win ‘erodes opportunities for female athletes. and perpetuates a fraud against women athletes.”

Thomas made history Thursday as the first known transgender athlete to win a Division 1 national championship after beating Weyant by 1.75 seconds.

Weyant, who is a freshman at the University of Virginia, swam her career best time during the championship and the third fastest time in UVA history, according to the college.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared runner-up Emma Weyant the winner of the 500-meter freestyle over transgender athlete Lia Thomas. Thomas of the University of Pennsylvania wins the 500 yard freestyle at the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championship on March 17, 2022 in Atlanta.
Justin Casterline/Getty

“By allowing men to compete in women’s sports, the NCAA is destroying opportunities for women, mocking their championships, and perpetuating fraud,” DeSantis tweeted. “In Florida, we reject these lies and recognize Sarasota’s Emma Weyant as the top female swimmer in the 500 Freestyle.”

DeSantis isn’t the first conservative figure to acknowledge Weyant as the winner over Thomas.

Congressman Dan Crenshaw, Angela Morabito, a former press secretary for the Department of Education in the Trump administration, and Clay Travis, a political commentator and founder of sports media company OutKick, also said Weyant should have been declared the winner of the championship.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.


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