Michael Phelps Discusses Transgender Swimmer Controversy: ‘Sports Must Be Played On an Even Playing Field’

Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Phelps addresses transgender swimmer Lia Thomas and the need for fairness in the sport.

QUICK FACTS:
  • Michael Phelps spoke with CNN host Christine Amanpour last week about the debate over the transgender athlete, saying that sports needed an “even playing field,” The Blaze reported.
  • “I don’t 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 my whole entire career, and honestly, the one thing I would love is everybody being able to compete on an even playing field,” Phelps said. 
  • When asked about people who are questioning the right for Thomas to swim on the women’s team, Phelps brought up his history of doping and the need for fairness in sports.
  • “Because it has to be a level playing field. I think that’s something that we all need. Because that’s what sports are and for me, I don’t know where this is going to go. I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Phelps responded.
PHELPS ON SPORTS AND MENTAL HEALTH:

“We all should feel comfortable with who we are in our own skin but I think sports should all be played on an even playing field.”

BACKGROUND:
  • University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas competed for three years on the school’s men’s team before switching to the women’s team in 2020 while receiving testosterone suppression treatments.
  • NCAA rules allow transgender athletes to compete as women if they have undergone testosterone suppression for a year, The New York Post reported.
  • Since Thomas has joined the women’s team, she has shattered records and is outperforming her female competitors by a landslide.
  • Women’s sports advocates have spoken out against the NCAA and transgender student-athlete participation, warning these rules are jeopardizing the future of women’s sports.