Former NCAA champion swimmer Riley Gaines recently addressed allegations made in a hit piece suggesting that she leveraged her tie for fifth place with trans-identifying swimmer Lia Thomas to propel herself into a career in right-wing media. The article, authored by Alyssa Tirrell from left-wing outlet Media Matters for America (MMfA), argued that Gaines capitalized on her race performance to gain a platform in conservative media.
However, Gaines, in an interview with The Daily Wire, refuted these claims and dismissed MMfA’s accusations. She highlighted that her intentions were never focused on pursuing a media career, but her critics would have to become accustomed to her presence nonetheless.
Gaines pointed out that finishing fifth in the entire country should be recognized as an accomplishment worthy of respect, comparable to acknowledging the skills of the fifth-best NBA player. She stressed that the worthiness of equal opportunity, safety, and privacy should be independent of an individual’s competitive success. Every young girl and woman, irrespective of their athletic prowess, is entitled to these rights.
Emphasizing her motivations, Gaines clarified that her fight was not for personal reasons but to carry on the legacy of past female athletes who fought tirelessly for Title IX. She advocated for present female athletes whose voices are stifled by universities and the media. Furthermore, she expressed her determination to fight for the rights of the next generation of female athletes who may not yet understand the implications of recent developments in women’s sports.
“I’m not fighting this for personal reasons. This is never a battle I wanted or felt equipped for,” Gaines continued. “And I’m done competing. I’m not doing this for myself. I’m fighting this for the past female athletes who fought relentlessly for Title IX so I could benefit in the way I did. I’m fighting this for the present female athletes who have their voices effectively silenced by their universities and the media. I’m fighting this for the next generation of female athletes who don’t yet have a voice and don’t yet understand the implications of what this means for their opportunities.”
While Gaines admitted that her original plan was to attend dental school and become an endodontist, she acknowledged the current circumstances and indicated that her return to that path would be delayed. She affirmed her commitment to continue advocating for fairness in women’s sports and resisting attempts to control freedom of expression and independent thought.
“I don’t see that happening anytime soon. So I’m sorry, but my critics are going to be stuck seeing my face and hearing my voice,” she said. “This is a battle I won’t give up on because I see what’s at stake if we do. Make no mistake, this is bigger than just fairness in women’s sports. They want to control how you feel, what you think, and what you say. Not on my watch.”
In conclusion, Gaines dismissed the notion that she pursued a media career at the expense of her athletic achievements. Instead, she made it clear that her fight was driven by a desire to protect the rights of female athletes and preserve equal opportunities for women in sports. Despite critics’ disapproval, Gaines asserted her determination to stay engaged in the ongoing discussions surrounding this issue, emphasizing the importance of maintaining fairness in women’s sports and safeguarding individual freedoms.
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) June 21, 2023