Fact Check

Did Swimmer Lia Thomas Beg for 2024 Olympics Tryout After Being Barred from Competing?

The specific claim is "satirical," but trans women are, as of this writing, banned from competing in competitive swimming.

Published Oct. 30, 2023

 (Justin Casterline / Getty Images)
Image courtesy of Justin Casterline / Getty Images
In 2023, former competitive swimmer Lia Thomas "begged" for a tryout for the 2024 Olympics after being issued a lifetime ban.

On Oct. 29, 2023, SpaceXMania published an article claiming that competitive swimmer Lia Thomas begged for a tryout for the 2024 Olympic Committee after the organization had issued her a lifetime ban. Thomas became the center of arguments about transgender participation in sports when she became the first openly trans athlete to win a Division 1 national championship in 2022. The article began:

Breaking: Lia Thomas Begs for a 2024 Olympic Tryout Following Lifetime Ban by Committee

Lia Thomas, once a celebrated name in competitive swimming, now finds herself making headlines for a dramatically different reason. Following a lifetime ban imposed by the Olympic Committee — a decision that sent shockwaves through the sports community — Thomas is reportedly pleading for a chance to try out for the 2024 Olympics. This plea highlights not only her personal turmoil but also the ongoing contentious debate surrounding transgender athletes in competitive sports.

On SpaceXMania's Facebook post promoting the article, many people left transphobic comments implying that they believed the article was real. However, the article is not an accurate depiction of real events. On SpaceXMania's website, the article was listed as satirical. Its website contains a disclaimer explaining that any articles they publish marked as satire should not be taken seriously:

Please note that the article under the category “SATIRE” are satirical in nature and are not meant to be taken seriously. 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.

Snopes has fact-checked other claims about Lia Thomas, most recently one claiming that she had decided to compete on a men's team because of the criticism she had faced. That claim was also false and originated from SpaceXMania.

While there is no evidence that Thomas has asked about a tryout for the 2024 Olympics, the article does not accurately describe the United States' selection process for the Olympic team. If Thomas wanted to compete at the 2024 Olympics, she would have to qualify at the U.S. Olympic trials held in June 2024. However, this is also unlikely to happen, since FINA, the world's governing body for competitive swimming, barred transgender swimmers from competing in women's events in June 2022.

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


Breaking: Lia Thomas Begs for a 2024 Olympic Tryout Following Lifetime Ban by Committee. 28 Oct. 2023, https://spacexmania.com/breaking-lia-thomas-begs-for-a-2024-olympic-tryout-following-lifetime-ban-by-committee/.

Disclaimer - SpaceXMania. 3 Jan. 2021, https://spacexmania.com/disclaimer/.

“Thomas First Transgender Athlete to Win D-I Title.” ESPN.Com, 17 Mar. 2022, https://www.espn.com/college-sports/story/_/id/33529775/amid-protests-pennsylvania-swimmer-lia-thomas-becomes-first-known-transgender-athlete-win-division-national-championship.

“Transgender Swimmers Barred from Women’s Events.” Al Jazeera, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/6/19/world-swimming-body-adopts-new-policy-for-transgender-athletes. Accessed 30 Oct. 2023.

Jack Izzo is a Chicago-based journalist and two-time "Jeopardy!" alumnus.