Fact Check

No, the 'Olympic Committee' Didn't Ban Former NCAA Swimmer Lia Thomas for Life

Several people indicated on a Facebook post that they hoped it was true.

Published Nov. 20, 2023

 (Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
Image courtesy of Kathryn Riley/Getty Images
In October 2023, the "Olympic Committee" banned former NCAA swimmer Lia Thomas, a transgender woman, for life.

On Oct. 26, 2023, SpaceXMania published an article claiming that the "Olympic Committee" had banned former NCAA swimmer Lia Thomas for life.

The article was published after swimming's governing body, World Aquatics, effectively banned transgender swimmers from competing in women's events in June 2022. World Aquatics later created an "open category" for transgender athletes, but it was reported in October 2023 that the planned debut of the category had been cancelled after no entries were received.

The SpaceXMania article claimed:

Breaking: Olympic Committee Bans Lia Thomas for Life, 'We Don’t Have a Proper Category'

In what appears to be an unprecedented and divisive move, the Olympic Committee has announced a lifetime ban on Lia Thomas, a prominent figure in the ongoing discourse regarding transgender athletes in competitive sports. Citing the lack of a “proper category” for Thomas within the traditional binary framework of male and female sports competitions, the Committee’s decision marks a pivotal and possibly polarizing moment in Olympic history.

A month later, in November 2023, the story appeared on a Facebook page associated with SpaceXMania.com named SpaceX Lovers. We found comments under the post that indicated people believed the story was real, stating they were glad Thomas had been banned for life from the Olympics. "Good," several people commented.

This item was not a factual recounting of real-life events. As originally published, the SpaceXMania article featured a "Satire" label above its headline. SpaceXMania describes its output as being humorous or satirical in nature, as follows:

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.

There were other indicators the story wasn't real. Like we stated above, swimming's governing body is World Aquatics, not the "Olympic Committee." The Olympics' governing body as a whole is the International Olympic Committee, often abbreviated as the IOC.

We've previously fact-checked other satirical claims from SpaceXMania about Thomas competing in the Olympics. For example, one article claimed that Thomas' request to compete in the 2024 Olympics had been denied.

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


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

Fahley, Ciarán. “World Swimming Bans Transgender Athletes from Women’s Events.” AP News, 22 June 2022, https://apnews.com/article/transgender-swimmers-new-rules-fina-world-governing-body-c17e99d3121fa964336458b57ae266f7.

Ingle, Sean. “Swimming World Cup Category for Transgender Athletes Cancelled after No Entries Received.” The Guardian, 3 Oct. 2023. The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2023/oct/03/swimming-world-cup-category-for-transgender-athletes-cancelled-after-no-entries-received.

LaMagdeleine, Izz Scott. “Has Megan Rapinoe Been Banned From Future Olympics?” Snopes, 26 Oct. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/megan-rapinoe-olympic-ban/.

Mikkelson, David. “Why We Include Humor and Satire in Snopes.Com.” Snopes, 15 Aug. 2019, https://www.snopes.com/notes/why-we-include-humor-and-satire-in-snopes-com/.

PerryCook, Taija. “Did Olympic Committee Ban Lia Thomas from 2024 Games?” Snopes, 31 Oct. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/lia-thomas-banned-olympics/.

Izz Scott LaMagdeleine is a fact-checker for Snopes.

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