Fact Check

Swimmer Lia Thomas Considering Retirement After Medals Taken From Her?

The transgender athlete has been subject to numerous rumors.

Published March 13, 2024

 (Screenshot via X)
Image Via Screenshot via X
Claim:
Transgender athlete Lia Thomas is considering retirement after her medals were taken from her by the NCAA.

On March 12, 2024, a viral post on X claimed that transgender swimmer Lia Thomas was considering retirement. She purportedly said, because the National Collegiate Athletics Association took her medals, she didn't have "the soul to fight anymore for justice." 

Many comments under the post believed it was real news, and said Thomas — who is transgender — did not deserve those medals. 


(Screenshot via X)

The above post originated from a website that is satirical in nature. There is no evidence that Thomas' medals were taken from her by the NCAA, nor is there any proof she said the above quote. As such, we rate this as "Originated as Satire."

The post was shared on Facebook page "Strong Community" on March 4, 2024, which describes itself as "both real news and satire clearly labeled for your enjoyment and discernment."  

The Facebook post linked to an article describing the same story on Strong Community's website, which was clearly labeled as satire. The article stated:

In a controversial turn of events, Lia Thomas, a transgender swimmer, has been stripped of her medals by the NCAA.

The decision comes amidst a heated debate surrounding her participation in women's swimming competitions. Thomas, who transitioned from male to female and competed in women's events, faced backlash and scrutiny over the fairness of her participation.

The debate over transgender athletes in sports has sparked discussions worldwide, raising questions about fairness, inclusivity, and the definition of gender in athletic competitions. While Thomas's participation was seen as a milestone for transgender rights in sports, it also ignited concerns about the competitive advantage transgender athletes may have due to biological differences.

The website features the disclaimer:

This page features satirical and humorous content. Please note that the content under the category "SATIRE" are entirely fictional and should not be taken as real news or factual information. Our intention is to entertain and provoke thought through satire, these articles are meant to be humorous and are often entirely made up. We make no claim that the information presented in these articles is true or accurate. We urge our readers to exercise their critical thinking skills and not take the content presented on this page seriously. Please enjoy our lighthearted and fictional creations responsibly.

Thomas was in the news in January 2024 when she began legal proceedings against World Aquatics, the governing body for swimming globally after it voted to restrict transgender athletes from participating in women's aquatic competitions. She was seeking to challenge certain parts of the gender inclusion policy, specifically the one where male-to-female transgender athletes would be eligible to compete in women's categories only if their transition took place before the age of 12 or before they reached stage two of the puberty Tanner stages.

We found no evidence that the NCAA took Thomas' medals. 

Thomas was the first transgender woman to win a Division I national championship, earning it in the 500-yard freestyle race in 2022. Fellow swimmer Riley Gaines has frequently spoken out against the inclusion of trans athletes in sports.

We've fact-checked numerous satirical claims about Thomas, including those about fictitious lawsuits filed by Gaines against Thomas, or false claims about Thomas being banned from the Olympics in 2024 or for life.

For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.

Sources

Almasy, Steve, and Eric Levenson. "Swimmer Lia Thomas Becomes First Transgender Athlete to Win an NCAA D-I Title." CNN, 17 Mar. 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/17/sport/lia-thomas-ncaa-swimming/index.html. Accessed 13 March 2024.

Baum, Sarah. "Did US Olympics Women's Teams Threaten to Quit Over Trans Athlete Lia Thomas Try-Out?" Snopes, 27 July 2023, https://www.snopes.com//fact-check/olympics-trans-swimmer-lia-thomas/. Accessed 13 March 2024.

"DISCLAIMER." Strong Community. https://usacommunity.live/sample-page/. Accessed 13 March 2024.

Ibrahim, Nur. "Was Lia Thomas Fired From Her High School Coaching Job After 2 Weeks?" Snopes, 3 Jan. 2024, https://www.snopes.com//fact-check/lia-thomas-coaching-school/. Accessed 13 March 2024.

Izzo, Jack. "Did Swimmer Lia Thomas Beg for 2024 Olympics Tryout After Being Barred from Competing?" Snopes, 30 Oct. 2023, https://www.snopes.com//fact-check/lia-thomas-olympic-tryout/. Accessed 13 March 2024.

Izzo, Jack. "Is NCAA Transferring Lia Thomas' Medals to Riley Gaines?" Snopes, 30 Nov. 2023, https://www.snopes.com//fact-check/lia-thomas-medal/. Accessed 13 March 2024.

Izzo, Jack. "Lia Thomas Was Rejected From US 2024 Olympic Swim Team While Riley Gaines Got a Spot?" Snopes, 17 Nov. 2023, https://www.snopes.com//fact-check/gaines-thomas-2024-olympics/. Accessed 13 March 2024.

LaMagdeleine, Izz Scott. "No, the 'Olympic Committee' Didn't Ban Former NCAA Swimmer Lia Thomas for Life." Snopes, 20 Nov. 2023, https://www.snopes.com//fact-check/lia-thomas-olympics/. Accessed 13 March 2024.

"Lia Thomas Is Considering Retirement: 'Since They Took My Medals, I Don't Have the Soul to Fight Anymore for Justice.'" 5 Mar. 2024, https://usacommunity.live/2024/03/05/lia-thomas-is-considering-retirement-since-they-took-my-medals-i-dont-have-the-soul-to-fight-anymore-for-justice/. Accessed 13 March 2024.

Liles, Jordan. "Former Swimmer Riley Gaines Sues Lia Thomas for $2M?" Snopes, 15 Sept. 2023, https://www.snopes.com//fact-check/gaines-sues-thomas-satire/. Accessed 13 March 2024.

Liles, Jordan. "Riley Gaines Settled a Lawsuit Against Swimmer Lia Thomas for $1.2M?" Snopes, 16 Aug. 2023, https://www.snopes.com//fact-check/gaines-thomas-lawsuit-satire/. Accessed 13 March 2024.

Mossburg, Cheri and Natasha Chen. "Former College Swimmer Says She Was Assaulted at an Event Opposing the Inclusion of Trans Women in Women's Sports." CNN, 7 Apr. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/04/07/us/former-ncaa-swimmer-riley-gaines-assault-san-francisco-state-university/index.html.

"Strong Community US." Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/StrongCommunityUS. Accessed 13 Mar. 2024.

Tucker, Emma and David Close. "Transgender Swimmer Lia Thomas Begins Legal Case against Swimming's World Governing Body." CNN, 27 Jan. 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/01/26/us/lia-thomas-world-aquatics-transgender-athletes-swimming/index.html. Accessed 13 March 2024.

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.