Fact Check: US Olympic Committee Did NOT Say Lia Thomas Can 'Try Out For The Men's Team'

Fact Check

  • by: Madison Dapcevich
Fact Check: US Olympic Committee Did NOT Say Lia Thomas Can 'Try Out For The Men's Team' Satire Origin

Did the U.S. Olympic Committee say that American swimmer Lia Thomas, the first openly transgender athlete to win an NCAA swimming championship Division I title, is "welcome to try out for the men's team," as a post on Facebook claimed? No, that's not true: The spoof article that made the claim was published by SpaceX Arena, a satirical website. SpaceX Arena's About Us page describes the website as "a platform for fun and comedy" and not a "reliable source of information."

A version of the claim was posted on Facebook on May 27, 2024 (archived here), with a meme that included a text overlay that suggested it was a news article. The account that posted the meme, NaiMa (archived here), presents itself as a "TV channel" that covers breaking news, but its page uses the placeholder text "Lorem ipsum."

A caption that accompanied the post on NaiMa read:

Thomas won't be swimming for the US Women's team anytime soon....

This is how the post appeared at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2024-05-31 at 12.30.15.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri May 31 16:10:49 2024 UTC)

Through a Google keyword search (archived here), Lead Stories determined that a version of this claim was first published on May 20, 2023, by the satirical website The Dunning-Kruger Times (archived here). Here is how the article appeared at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2024-05-31 at 1.34.58 PM.png

(Source: The Dunning-Kruger Times screenshot taken Fri May 31 19:34:58 UTC 2024)

ALLOD & The Dunning-Kruger Times

The site is part of the America's Last Line of Defense (ALLOD) network of satire websites run by self-professed liberal troll Christopher Blair from Maine along with a loose confederation of friends and allies. He runs several websites and Facebook pages with visible satire disclaimers everywhere. They mostly publish made-up stories with headlines specifically created to trigger Republicans, conservatives and evangelical Christians into angrily sharing or commenting on the story on Facebook without actually reading the full article, exposing them to mockery and ridicule by fans of the sites and pages.

Every site in the network has an about page that reads (in part):

About Satire
Before you complain and decide satire is synonymous with 'comedy':

The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site's pure fantasy and actual people, places, and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical. See above if you're still having an issue with that satire thing.

Articles from Blair's sites frequently get copied by "real" fake news sites that omit the satire disclaimer and other hints the stories are fake.

A later iteration of this claim was published again on May 16, 2024, by another satirical website, SpaceX Arena (archived here). The article read in part:

US Olympic Committee: Lia Thomas can try out for the men's team.

Lia Thomas, a transgender athlete celebrated for her record-breaking performances in NCAA swimming, recently stirred controversy by petitioning to join the US Women's National Team. However, the US Olympic Committee swiftly responded, indicating that such an option wasn't feasible, suggesting she try out for the men's team instead.

At the bottom of the article was a categorization that read, "#SATIRE." SpaceX Arena's About Us page (archived here) describes the website as:

We use parody and exaggeration to mock current events and trends and aim to provide entertainment and laughter to our readers.


We are not a reliable source of information, but rather a platform for fun and comedy.

The SpaceX Arena article follows The Telegraph's exclusive report in January 2024 (archived here) that Thomas was "mounting a secret legal challenge against the ban on her competing in elite women's races - including at the Olympics."

As of May 31, 2024, Lead Stories had found no evidence (archived here) on the official website of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC), which oversees the selection of athletes to represent the U.S. at the Olympics and other international sports competitions, that the nonprofit corporation had commented about Thomas. We have contacted the USOPC and will update this article accordingly if we receive a response.

At the time this was written, PolitiFact had reviewed the same claim.

Additional Lead Stories fact checks of claims about Lia Thomas can be read here. Our fact checks of claims related to the Olympics can be found here.

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  Madison Dapcevich

Raised on an island in southeast Alaska, Madison grew up a perpetually curious tidepooler and has used that love of science and innovation in her now full-time role as a science reporter for the fact-checking publication Lead Stories.

Read more about or contact Madison Dapcevich

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