“Not only were we forced to race against a man, we were put on the back burner when faced with a difficult situation that the NCAA had not been prepared for,” said Riley Gaines, a female swimmer who was forced to compete against Lia Thomas. “It’s crucial for the NCAA and the Biden administration to open their eyes and recognize the irrefutable damage that is being done to women’s sports and everything that Title IX was created for,” she continued.
The 12-time All-American and 4-time SEC Champion, Gaines tied for fifth place at the 2022 NCAA Freestyle Championship. Instead of recognizing Gaines with the trophy she rightfully earned, the NCAA unfairly decided to present the fifth place trophy to Thomas, while Gaines had to wait for her trophy to arrive in the mail.
Females athletes from across the country shared similar emotional testimonies during a roundtable discussion led by Leader McCarthy (CA-23) and Republican Study Chairman Jim Banks (IN-03). Additional Republican members participating included Rep. Greg Steube (FL-17), Rep. Debbie Lesko (AZ-08), Rep. Kat Cammack (FL-03), Rep. Diana Harshbarger (TN-01), Rep. Burgess Owens (UT-04), and Rep. Claudia Tenney (NY-22).
More from the Athletes: Chelsea Mitchell, a runner who lost to two separate men who competed in women’s races, stated “we should be here celebrating fifty years of Title IX’s protections for women and girls’ sports. Instead, we are here because we don’t know if those protections will last another fifty years.”
Macy Petty detailed her experience going up against a biological male in volleyball. On the men’s courts, she explained “the nets are 7 inches higher” than they are on the women’s courts to account for the difference in their bodies. Unfortunately, in the competition, she and her teammates faced a co-ed team, which negatively impacted her and her teammates’ prospective scholarship opportunities.
Cynthia Monteleone, the defending world champion in the 400 meter race, put it simply: “Nowhere in the [Title IX] document does it say gender or gender identity.” Despite being the current world champion, Monteleone is protesting the World Masters Athletics Championships over their policies allowing a biological male to race with the women.
After the roundtable, House Republicans and athletes standing up for fairness in women’s sports held a press conference to discuss what they had learned.
Gaines, Petty, Monteleone, Mitchell and other athletes are standing up for the integrity of women’s sports, but as they pointed out: this is a problem created by policies, not people.
One proposed solution: Rep. Steube’s The Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act , which would protect women and girls’ athletics programs by prohibiting educational institutions from allowing a biological male to participate in athletic programs meant for women. Because these protections are essential, Leader McCarthy told the athletes, “[House Republicans] will always work to protect fair competition in women’s sports — which studies show make women and girls healthier, happier, and more likely to succeed.”
Throughout the roundtable and the press conference, House Republicans vowed to push back against the Biden administration’s overreach.