A USA Swimming official who spent decades in the sport resigned last week in protest of Lia Thomas, a transgender swimmer from the University of Pennsylvania who competed for two full seasons as a male but is competing this year in female competitions and is blowing away school records.
In an interview on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Cynthia Millen said she stepped down from officiating USA Swimming meets after 30 years because she said she can’t sit still and watch as female competitors are “thrown under the bus” by “biological” male competitors.
“The fact is that swimming is a sport in which bodies compete against bodies. Identities do not compete against identities,” Millen said regarding her decision to quit just a few days before the U.S. Paralympics Swimming National Championships in Greensboro, N.C. “Men are different from women, men swimmers are different from women, and they will always be faster than women.”
She called Thomas’ record-setting dominance of collegiate women’s swimming exceedingly unfair in her resignation letter, writing that she can “no longer participate in a sport that allows biological men to compete against women.”
Under NCAA rules, transgender athletes must have a year’s worth of testosterone suppression therapy before they can compete as females.
“It’s horrible,” Millen told guest host Sean Duffy. “The statement for women then is you do not matter, what you do is not important, and little girls are going to be thrown under the bus by all of this.”
She predicted that Thoms is “going to be destroying women’s swimming” before adding: “USA swimming recognizes that boys swim differently from girls.”
Millen went on to note the biological elements that factor into a swimmer’s performance, noting that “boys will always have larger lung capacity, larger hearts, greater circulation, a bigger skeleton, and less fat.”
“While Lia Thomas is a child of God, he is a biological male who is competing against women,” Millen said. “And no matter how much testosterone suppression drugs he takes, he will always be a biological male and have the advantage.”
Most recently, Thomas dominated women’s swimming at the Zippy Invitational at the University of Akron. Thomas set a new Ivy League record with a winning time of 4:34:06 in the 500-yard freestyle finals.
Millen noted that it would be a “travesty to throw away” the accomplishments of previous female Olympic swimmers like Janet Evans and Jenny Thompson.
“All these women who worked so hard before Title IX when they didn’t have the opportunities that men had. It would be such a shame, such a travesty to throw it away now. This is what will happen,” she went on to predict.
Some University of Pennsylvania parents who were angered by Thomas’ performance at the invitational fired off a letter to the NCAA earlier this month seeking a change in the rules.
“At stake here is the integrity of women’s sports. The precedent being set – one in which women do not have a protected and equitable space to compete – is a direct threat to female athletes in every sport. What are the boundaries? How is this in line with the NCAA’s commitment to providing a fair environment for student-athletes?” said the letter.
“It is the responsibility of the NCAA to address the matter with an official statement. As the governing body, it is unfair and irresponsible to leave the onus on Lia, Lia’s teammates, Lia’s coaches, UPenn athletics and the Ivy League,” the letter noted further. “And it is unfair and irresponsible to Lia to allow the media to dictate the narrative without the participation of the NCAA.”
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