Fact Check: Lia Thomas Has NOT Been Exclusively Banned From 2024 Olympics In Paris

Fact Check

  • by: Madison Dapcevich
Fact Check: Lia Thomas Has NOT Been Exclusively Banned From 2024 Olympics In Paris No Record

Has Lia Thomas, the first openly transgender athlete to win an NCAA swimming championship Division I title, been exclusively banned from competing in the 2024 Olympics in Paris, as a post on Facebook implied? No, that's not true: The International Olympic Committee outlined a framework for all transgender and intersex athletes. However, national committees oversee athletic participation in their respective countries. As of this writing, the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee had not publicly commented on Thomas' participation, though she petitioned to be allowed to compete. The U.S. Olympic Trials for pool swimming are set to run from June 15 to 23, 2024.

The claim originated in a post on Facebook on May 28, 2024 (archived here), with a caption that read:

Lia Thomas has been banned from the 2024 Olympics in Paris...See the continuation below in the first comment 👇

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

Screenshot 2024-06-04 at 18.22.42.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken Tue June 4 18:22:42 2024 UTC)

The post states that Thomas specifically has been banned from the 2024 Olympics. In the comment section, the author of the post linked to a today.topstories1.com post with the title, "Lia Thomas has been banned from the 2024 Olympics in Paris" (archived here), published on March 29, 2024. It read, in part:

Lia Thomas has been told she can't compete in the 2024 Olympics in Paris, which is another setback in her sports career.

As of this writing, the U.S. Olympic Trials for pool swimming have not yet occurred. According to USA Swimming (archived here), they are set to run from June 15 to 23, 2024, in Indianapolis, Indiana.

There is no evidence that Thomas has exclusively been told that she can't compete in the 2024 Olympics. As of June 5, 2024, Lead Stories had found no evidence (archived here) on the official website of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) (archived here), which oversees the selection of athletes to represent the U.S. at the Olympics, that it had commented about Thomas.

Similarly, we found no evidence (archived here) on the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) official website that the group had commented on Thomas. Lead Stories has contacted the IOC and will update this article accordingly if we receive a response.

On November 16, 2021, the IOC released a new framework (archived here) and guidelines (archived here) titled, "IOC Framework on Fairness, Inclusion and Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity and Sex Variations," which addressed transgender and intersex athletes. The six-page document outlines 10 principles to help organizing bodies develop "criteria that are applicable to their sport" with regard to "ethical, social, cultural and legal aspects." The framework is not legally binding and was developed following "extensive consultation with athletes and stakeholders concerned."

While the IOC organizes the Olympic Games, athletes are chosen by their respective National Olympic Committees (NOCs) (archived here). There are 206 NOCs representing nation-states across five continents.

For American athletes, the USOPC determines participation in the Olympic Games. In a position statement issued on December 7, 2022 (archived here), the nonprofit organization said it will "work with athletes and National Governing Bodies ... to ensure all athletes may train and compete to the best of their ability." There is no overarching decision across all athletic programs overseen by the USOPC. Rather, the agency writes:

The only way to do that for all genders, and specifically for those who are transgender, is to rely on real data and science-based evidence rather than ideology. That means making science-based decisions, sport by sport and discipline by discipline, within both the Olympic and Paralympic movements. The science in this area is emerging, so at present we must focus on the available science we have and - importantly - work together to advance it further.

This work must be done in collaboration and cooperation with the IOC, the IPC, the International Sport Federations, the National Governing Bodies, the NCAA, and other sport governing bodies. All of us need to have a role in advancing the collection and evaluation of that data ...

While the science is advancing, and until it can offer us clearer guidance, we must do our best work to ensure fairness. In that light, the USOPC supports the 2021 IOC guidance for elite sport and its recognition that rules protecting fairness must be implemented by each individual International Sport Federation.

USOPC policies further add that for athletes participating in a sport during or after puberty, decisions are made on a sport-by-sport basis and incorporate the

important concept of category qualifiers to accommodate transgender athlete participation better. ... The work of creating, employing, and improving category qualifier systems ... must be ongoing and reflect advances in science and data.

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.

Want to inform others about the accuracy of this story?

See who is sharing it (it might even be your friends...) and leave the link in the comments.:

  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

About Us

International Fact-Checking Organization Meta Third-Party Fact Checker

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, misleading, deceptive or inaccurate stories, videos or images going viral on the internet.
Spotted something? Let us know!.

Lead Stories is a:


Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required

Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Lead Stories LLC:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

Most Read

Most Recent

Share your opinion