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Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas loses bid for NCAA Woman of the Year

Thomas was the first transgender athlete to win an NCAA Division 1 championship, but her nomination drew backlash from conservatives.

WASHINGTON — Swimmer Lia Thomas, the first transgender athlete to win an NCAA Division 1 national championship, has lost her bid to become the 2022 NCAA Woman of the Year. 

The NCAA announced its conference selections Monday. Columbia University fencer Sylvie Binder was selected to advance to the next round as the Ivy League conference winner. 

Thomas has been at the center of debates about transgender athletes in sports. 

Her NCAA championship win drew widespread attention, including from Republican politicians like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who issued an official proclamation declaring the runner-up the “real winner.”

Thomas said in May on ABC’s “Good Morning America" that she was aiming to become an Olympic swimmer. She also disputed those who say she has an unfair biological edge that ruins the integrity of women’s athletics, saying “trans women are not a threat to women’s sports.”

The University of Pennsylvania previously drew backlash after nominating Thomas for the award, according to Yahoo News. 

Republican politicians have pounced on the topic of transgender athletes competing in sports ahead of the 2022 midterms, sparking anger from advocates who say the GOP's pushback against trans athletes is simply transphobia.

The next round of voting will take place in August, when five finalists will be selected. The final winner from that set of nominees will be honored at the NCAA's January conference in San Antonio, Texas. 

According to Fox News, Binder was an NCAA Women’s Foil Champion in 2019. She placed third at the NCAA Championships this season with an overall record of 17-6.

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