Reka Gyorgy, a former Virginia Tech swimmer, was among those who lent her support to the athletes in an amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court last week.
The brief was filed in support of the state of West Virginia and its Save Women’s Sports law. The legislation seeks to keep transgender student-athletes at all levels of competition to play against those of the same biological gender rather than the gender with which they identify. A preliminary injunction was dissolved in January when a federal judge ruled that the law did not violate Title IX protections, but the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled to reinstate a preliminary injunction.
Gyorgy made headlines last year during the NCAA Championships when he criticized the governing body for college sports for allowing Penn’s Lia Thomas to compete against biological women as a transgender competitor. Gyorgy was one of 67 athletes, coaches and family members who asked the Supreme Court to vacate the preliminary injunction.
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«I was a senior competing in my last swim meet at the NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships on March 17, 2022. I swam the 500m freestyle in the preliminaries where I placed 17th, which means that I did not return to the final and I was the first substitute», his statement said. «I saw Lia Thomas [a biological male] from the pool deck to win a women’s national title in a final that she deserved to be in because the current rules did not support biological women. I couldn’t help but cry and feel frustrated, angry and sad. He hurt me, my team and other women in the pool. A year later, there is still no response to my letter to the NCAA. This is a continual and painful reminder of how little all the women in that swim meet matter to the people who run our schools and athletic meets.»
Gyorgy had missed the cut to get into the consolation final in the 500 free. He finished 17th and in the letter he argued that he missed out because of Thomas.
Thomas finished in 4:33.82 in the prelims and then became a national champion when she won the race in a time of 4:33.24. Gyorgy had a time of 4:41.06. The top 16 advanced to the final.
Gyorgy wrote a letter in March 2022 after the championships and posted it on his private Instagram account.
MASSACHUSETTS HIGH SCHOOL SOLIDIFIES STATE TITLE WITH THE HELP OF A TRANSGENDER GIRL, PUT POLITICS UNDER A MICROSCOPE
«With all due respect, I would like to address something that is a problem in our sport right now and that hurts athletes, especially female swimmers,» said the letter read. «Everyone has heard and learned about the transgender swimmer, Lia Thomas, and her case, including all the issues and concerns that her situation brought to our sport. I would like to say that I fully respect and support Lia Thomas; I am convinced that she is no different than me or any other D1 swimmer who has been up at 5 am her entire life for morning practice. She has sacrificed family vacations and holidays for a competition. She has tried her best to be the best athlete she could be. She is doing what she is passionate about and deserves that right. On the other hand, I would like to criticize the NCAA rules that allow her to compete against us biological women.
«I am writing this letter right now in hopes that the NCAA will open its eyes and change these rules in the future. It does not promote our sport in a good way and I think it is disrespectful to biologically female swimmers who are competing. in the NCAA.»
Gyorgy, a Hungarian who competed in the 200m backstroke at the 2016 Summer Olympics, explained that she felt last place was taken away from her to reach the consolation final.
«Looks like I was knocked out of the final spot due to the NCAA’s decision to let someone who isn’t a biological female compete,» she wrote. «I know you could say I had a chance to swim faster and make it to the top 16, but this situation makes it a little different and I can’t help but feel angry or sad. It hurts me, my team and other women in the Se took a spot from the girl who placed ninth in the 500 free and failed to return to the A final, preventing her from being an All-American Each event in which transgender athletes competed took one spot from females biological throughout the match.
Gyorgy added that the NCAA «knew what was coming last week» and wrote that the media circus surrounding the NCAA Championships this week cast a shadow over the incredible performances of other competitors.
“It is the result of the NCAA and their lack of interest in protecting their athletes. I ask the NCAA to take some time to think about all the other biological women in swimming, try to think how they would feel if they were in our shoes. Make the right changes for our sport and for a better future in swimming,» the letter concluded.
From varsity track and field to high school sports, a debate has grown over whether having transgender women and girls compete against biological women and girls is truly a level playing field.
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Recently, a Vermont Christian school was banned from future state-sanctioned tournaments because its girls’ basketball team refused to play another opponent that had a transgender girl on the team.