Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas loses legal challenge, ruling her ineligible for 2024 Olympics

Lia Thomas, a transgender swimmer who won a 2022 NCAA Division I title, has lost her legal challenge against rules barring her from elite competitions.

A panel of three judges from the Court of Arbitration for Sport dismissed her request for arbitration with the World Aquatics governing body. Thomas had filed the legal paperwork in January against World Aquatics’ policy, which restricts transgender athletes who experienced male puberty from competing in elite women’s competitions.

World Aquatics has created an “open” category for transgender athletes. The judges ruled Thomas ineligible to compete in events through World Aquatics or USA Swimming, allowing her only to participate in non-elite USA Swimming events.

Expressing disappointment, Thomas stated, “Blanket bans preventing trans women from competing are discriminatory and deprive us of valuable athletic opportunities that are central to our identities.” The ruling precedes the U.S. Olympic swimming trials.