Michael Phelps says the controversy surrounding Lia Thomas is ‘very complicated’, requiring equal terms

Michael Phelps responded to the growing debate surrounding University of Pennsylvania transgender swimmer Lia Thomas last week, calling the issue “very complicated,” noting that sports need an “equal playing field” to be fair.

Phelps, the most decorated Olympian ever, likened the controversy surrounding Thomas to doping, saying he did not believe he had competed in a clean field throughout his career.

“I think this leads back to the organizing committees again,” Phelps said CNNs Christiane Amanpour on Thursday. “Because it has to be a level playing field. I think it’s something we all need. Because that’s what sport is, and for me I do not know where this is going. I do not know what that has to happen. “

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Michael Phelps responded to the growing debate surrounding the University of Pennsylvania transgender swimmer Lia Thomas and called the issue "very complicated" during an appearance on CNN last week

Michael Phelps responded to the growing debate over University of Pennsylvania transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, calling the issue “very complicated” during a performance on CNN last week
(Getty)

Thomas has dominated the pool in swimming competitions this season. She has previously competed for three years on the school men’s team, though her success this year ignited criticism over allowing transgender women to compete against biological women.

Women’s sports advocates and parents at Penn has recently spoken out against the NCAA and its rules on the participation of transgender student-athletes, which require trans-female athletes to undergo at least one year of testosterone suppression therapy before competing on a women’s team.

Thomas switched to the women’s team in 2020 and has been receiving the treatment for almost three years.

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On Thursday, Phelps said athletes should be able to feel comfortable in their own skin, but that sports should be played on a “straight track.”

“I do not know what it looks like in the future. But it’s hard. It’s very complicated, and this is my sport, this has been my sport all my career, and honestly, the only thing I would love. , is that everyone can compete on an equal footing, “said Phelps.

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Thomas will compete at next month’s Ivy League championships. She has already qualified for the NCAA Championships in March.

Fox News’ Jessica Chasmar contributed to this report

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