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Riley Gaines, a former member of the University of Kentucky women’s swim team, has spoken boldly about the issue of transgender athletes in women’s sports. 

Earlier this year, before Gaines graduated, she competed against the infamous Lia Thomas, a man pretending to be a woman, in the NCAA women’s championship. The two swimmers tied for 5th place in the 200-yard freestyle final, according to Breitbart. 

Gaines opened up about this experience while talking on a local FM radio channel in Mobile, Alabama, “I just graduated this past May. But last year, in March, my senior year, the NCAA announced that Lia Thomas, I’m sure a lot of people are familiar with that name, would be competing with the women.” 

She goes on to explain that Thomas, a senior at the University of Pennsylvania, had previously swum on the men’s team before transitioning. “Now, Lia Thomas was a senior swimmer who swam three years on the men’s side at UPenn, then switched over to the female side. So, we were all curious what this was going to look like. But when we were there, we watched Lia Thomas win a national title in the 500 [yard] freestyle, beating out American record-holders, the fastest women to ever swim by seconds, which I want to add, seconds in swimming is a lot,” she continued according to Breitbart. 

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“This is a sport that is measured down to the hundredth of a second. So, to have someone who not even the year prior was ranking in the 500s, 600s as a male then winning a national title for the females by seconds – the information is right there to see that this is blatantly wrong and unfair,” the star athlete explained. 

“Miraculously enough, we actually tied. So we went the exact same time down to the hundredth of a second. Upon tying, we go behind the award’s podium where the NCAA official passes out the trophies, but he looks at us and says, ‘Hey, great job. You guys tied. We only have one trophy, so we’re going to give it to Lia,'” the star athlete explained on the radio.

After questioning this arbitrary decision to give the trophy to Lia Thomas, the official explained that it was a ‘chronological’ decision and that she could pose with another trophy but wouldn’t be taking it home. “Well, for photo purposes, Lia has to hold the trophy. You can pose with this one, but we will be taking it back, and you will not go home with one today. Lia will take this one home.'”

Gaines continued to explain in the interview, “It was at this point I realized we as female athletes are being sidelined to men – just being completely put on the back burner, which goes against everything Title IX was created to protect.”

Gaines is using her tragic experience to advocate for change in the political world. Earlier this week, Gaines was featured in a new ad by Georgia Senate Candidate and former NFL athlete Herschel Walker (R-GA). 

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“I’m Riley Gaines, a 12 time NCAA all American. For more than a decade, I worked so hard, 4am practices to be the best. But my senior year, I was forced to compete against a biological male.” 

Herschel Walker quickly condemned the NCAA decision saying, “that is unfair and wrong,” and Gaines followed that up with the blunt statement, “a man won the swimming title that belonged to a woman and Senator Warnock voted to let it happen.” 

Walker quickly condemned his runoff opponent Sen. Rafael Warnock (D-GA), saying, “Warnock is afraid to stand up for female athletes.” Proving the difference between Walker and his radical Democrat opponent. 

The former athlete ended the video by saying, “Herschel Walker stands up for what is right.” 

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