Riley Gaines slams NCAA for ‘trying to save face’ in Lia Thomas tie

Riley Gaines, the Kentucky swimmer who tied transgender swimmer Lia Thomas for fifth in the women’s 200-meter NCAA championships last month, still does not have her trophy.

Gaines appeared on Senator Marsha Blackburn’s “Unmuted” podcast last week, and recounted what happened when she tied Thomas.

“I touched the wall and saw that there was a five by my name, indicating that I got fifth, but the first thing I really looked at was who won because I was so curious who would win the race,” Gaines said. “Because, the night before, Lia won the 500-meter. So, more interested than my own self, I was interested in who won. I looked up and I also saw a No. 5 by Lia’s name so in that moment I realized we tied.

“It was a flood of emotions, really. I was extremely happy for the girls above me who conquered what was seemingly impossible by beating Lia, and it was kind of an array of emotions. I was shocked, really.”Blackburn asked Gaines if she had her trophy yet.

“No I do not,” she said. “That’s another crazy thing. Once I got out of the water, we kind of go behind the podium to the awards ceremony where they distribute the trophies. So, I walked back there and the NCAA official came up to me and said, ‘Hey, we only have one fifth place trophy’ — which I understood.

“But he said, ‘We’re gonna have to give that trophy to Lia. Yours will be coming in the mail. Great job.’ I was kind of taken aback. I don’t think he necessarily expected me to really question it, but I was like, ‘Okay, I understand, but can I ask why you’re choosing to give the trophy to Lia?’”

Gaines claims that the NCAA official responded, “Well, we’re just giving the trophies out in chronological order.”



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