(Headline USA) Former British Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies called on other sports organizations follow example of the swimming world’s governing body and ban transgender athletes from competing in women’s events.
FINA voted this week to restrict transgender athletes’ participation in the sport, ruling that transgender athletes who started transition after the age of 12 would no longer be able to compete in women’s events. The new rule, however, could also compel youth to undergo the dangerous transitioning process at an earlier age.
Davies, 59, who won Olympic silver at the 1980 Games, applauded the decision.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of my sport, FINA and the FINA president for doing the science, asking the athletes/coaches and standing up for fair sport for females,” she said. “Swimming will always welcome everyone no matter how you identify but fairness is the cornerstone of sport.”
— Sharron Davies MBE (@sharrond62) June 19, 2022
FINA’s decision to restrict transgender participation follows months of controversy over Lia Thomas, a male swimmer who competed on the University of Pennsylvania’s women’s swimming team after deciding to transition. Thomas went on to win an event at the NCAA women’s swimming championships, despite his clear physical advantage of the women he competed against.
Thomas said earlier this year that he wants to compete in the Olympics as a female swimmer, but the new FINA rules would prevent him from swimming in any elite female event.
Another sport’s governing body, the Union Cycliste International, also unveiled stricter rules for transgender athletes, doubling the period of time before a transgender rider can compete in women’s events from 12 to 24 months.
Davies, however, argued this isn’t nearly enough.
“I think what cycling has done is disgraceful,” Davies said. “They have basically said they are happy for female athletes to compete with a disadvantage. I’m afraid that is not acceptable in a world where we don’t believe in sex discrimination.”