Michael Phelps compares transgender athletes who compete in women’s categories to doping

Former US Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps has compared transgender athletes competing in women’s categories to doping, according to his remarks during a interview granted on Thursday of last week to Christiane Amanpour, a CNN journalist.

The reporter asked her what her opinion was about the controversy generated around Lia Thomas, 22, the transgender swimmer who has broken a large number of records since she began competing in the women’s category at the US university level. .

“Very complicated”

“I can speak from a doping point of view. I don’t think I’ve competed on a clean field in my entire career,” Phelps explained. “There has to be a level playing field. I think that’s something we all need. That’s what sports are,” he added.

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“I think we should all be comfortable with who we are in our own skin,” he continued. However, he noted that it is a “very complicated” issue. “I don’t know where this is going to go, I do not know what is going to happen“, concluded the most decorated athlete in the entire history of the Olympic Games.

Thomas, who was previously named Will, competed as a man for three years, the last time being in November 2019. According to the US National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), to compete in the women’s trials it is necessary to undergo the Testosterone suppression procedures for one year. It is unclear when the University of Pennsylvania student began her transition process.

Topic of discussion

On November 20, Thomas broke the 200-meter and 500-meter freestyle record, which generated debates in the North American country, where some expressed their dissatisfaction with the athlete’s successes and affirmed that it is an injustice with the other athletes.

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A group of parents of some members of the women’s swim team at the University of Pennsylvania sent a letter last month to the directors of the educational entity, the (NCAA) and the Ivy League intercollegiate sports conference, demanding That change the rules that allow transgender athletes to participate in female competitions, but, so far, they have not received a response.

For her part, Cynthia Millen, an American sports judge who officiated the events of USA Swimming, the United States swimming body, for some 30 years, resigned from her position due to the controversy surrounding the Thomas case, arguing that “everything the fairness of swimming is being destroyed”.

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