TALLAHASSEE, FL – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has announced he will declare a swimmer hailing from the state who placed second in a recent women’s NCAA 500-yard freestyle swimming event to controversial transgender athlete Lia Thomas to be the “true” winner.
DeSantis said on Tuesday that he issued a proclamation stating that Emma Weyant – a Sarasota native attending the University of Virginia, who won a silver medal at the 2020 Olympic Games – was the winner over Thomas because “She earned that and we need to stop allowing organizations like the NCAA to perpetuate frauds on the public.”
Lia Thomas competed on the men’s swimming team of the University of Pennsylvania for three years before taking a year off to transition to female; upon returning, Thomas – adhering to current NCAA rules governing testosterone levels for trans athletes – has been competing on the women’s team, and quickly began dominating the competition and shattering records.
The governor’s proclamation states that “since she is a native Floridian from Sarasota, I, Ron DeSantis, Governor of the State of Florida, do hereby declare in Florida that Emma Weyant is the rightful winner.”
Weyant lost to Thomas by 1.75 seconds in the NCAA 500-yard freestyle event last Thursday with a time of 4:34.99, her personal best. By winning the race, Thomas – ranked number one in the female division – became the first transgender woman to win an NCAA swimming championship. In contrast, as a male, Thomas’ highest ranking as a swimmer was in the mid-500s.
“If you look at what the NCAA has done in allowing basically men to compete in women’s athletics, and in this case swimming… you had the number one woman who finished was from Sarasota, Emma Weyent. She won the silver medal, she’s been an absolute superstar her whole career,” DeSantis said Tuesday.
“To compete at that level is very, very difficult,” DeSantis continued. “And you don’t just roll out of bed and do it. That takes grit. That takes determination. She had the fastest time of any woman in college athletics. Now the NCAA is basically taking efforts to destroy women’s athletics. They’re trying to undermine the integrity of the competition, crowning somebody else the women’s champion, and we think that’s wrong.”
“By allowing men to compete in women’s sports, the NCAA is destroying opportunities for women, making a mockery of its championships, and perpetuating a fraud. In Florida, we reject these lies and recognize Sarasota’s Emma Weyant as the best women’s swimmer in the 500y freestyle”– Florida Governor Ron DeSantis