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UPDATE 1-Fact Check-No evidence swimmer Reka Gyorgy tweeted that trans athlete Lia Thomas stole her NCAA finals spot

Updated to include comments from Reka Gyorgy and Twitter

A viral tweet said to be from a former Olympic swimmer has accused transgender athlete Lia Thomas of stealing her position on the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) swimming finals. Posting from an account with the handle @RekaGyorgy_ the tweet condemns the win, but there is no evidence it was Gyorgy herself tweeting, and Twitter has since suspended the account.

The user wrote: “My finals spot was stolen by Lia Thomas who is a biological male. Until we all refuse to compete nothing will change. Thanks for all the support retweets and follows I won’t stop fighting.”

Twitter users have since alleged the account suspension was as an attempt to silence Gyorgy (here , here and here ).

But other users were quick to point out that a screenshot of the account goes with the ID amanda191923, indicating that the Twitter handle had been changed to Reka Gyorgy’s name. See here and here.

Speaking to Reuters via Linkedin, Gyorgy said the account did not belong to her. “I don’t have Twitter!” she added.

A Twitter spokesperson, meanwhile, told Reuters via email: “The account referenced has been permanently suspended for violating our platform manipulation and spam policy, specifically the creation of fake accounts.”

Although there is no evidence the Twitter user is Gyorgy herself, the swimmer has written to the U.S. college sports’ governing body to criticise the inclusion of a transgender athlete in the women’s competition.

Gyorgy, who swam for Hungary in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil and now swims for Virginia Tech, claimed her final chance to swim for her college was impacted by Thomas’ participation.

“This is my last college meet ever and I feel frustrated. It feels like that final spot was taken away from me because of the NCAA’s decision… I know you could say I had the opportunity to swim faster and make the top 16, but this situation makes it a bit different and I can’t help but be angry or sad. It hurts me, my team and other women in the pool,” she wrote.

University of Pennsylvania athlete Thomas became the first transgender NCAA champion after swimming to victory in the 500-yard freestyle in Atlanta.

A month earlier USA Swimming revealed it would allow transgender athletes to compete in elite events by setting out criteria it said would mitigate any disadvantages.

The policy stated trans athletes must undergo three years of hormone replacement therapy. Thomas was six months shy of the target when allowed to compete, but the NCAA decided not to adopt USA Swimming’s rules.

Before transitioning, Thomas had competed for three years in male competitions. Her eligibility for the women’s team has come under considerable public scrutiny.

VERDICT

No evidence. Although swimmer Reka Gyorgy has expressed her dissatisfaction with the inclusion of a trans athlete in the NCAA women’s competition, there is no evidence that she tweeted the claim her spot was stolen by Lia Thomas.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.

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