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Tipsheet

DeSantis Issues Statement Recognizing Swimmer Emma Weyant As Champion Over Lia Thomas

AP Photo/John Raoux, File

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis (FL) announced Tuesday that Florida will recognize University of Virginia swimmer Emma Weyant, a Sarasota native, as the first-place recipient of the 500-yard freestyle at the NCAA swimming and diving championships, where she came in second place to biological male Will “Lia” Thomas.

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“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,” DeSantis wrote in a tweet. “In Florida, we reject these lies and recognize Sarasota's Emma Weyant as the best women's swimmer in the 500y freestyle.”

“On Thursday, March 17, 2022, Emma Weyant competed in the 500-yard freestyle race at the Division 1 Women’s and Diving Championships, logging the fastest time among all women swimmers,” the statement read. “A male identifying as a woman was allowed to compete in and was declared the winner of the race by the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) and Emma was determined to have come in second place.”  

Weyant, who previously ranked No. 1 in the 400-yard individual medley in the 18 & Under World 100 Ranking, qualified for the 2020 U.S. Olympics team and competed in the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics where she took home a silver medal.

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“Women have fought for decades to have equal opportunities in athletics, and it is wrong to allow ideology to erode these opportunities as is happening in other states, and the preservation of women-specific athletic teams or sports is necessary to promote quality of athletic opportunities,” DeSantis’ statement concluded. “Florida rejects the NCAA’s efforts to destroy women’s athletics, disapproves of the NCAA elevating ideology over biology, and takes offense at the NCAA trying to make others complicit in a lie.”

DeSantis and other Florida lawmakers are currently pushing a piece of legislation, dubbed by the mainstream media as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill that would prohibit classroom instruction pertaning to sexual orientation and gender identity for young children. As Julio noted, the purpose is to prevent teachers from discussing these topics with students before their parents.

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