Riley Gaines, a former NCAA star swimmer at Kentucky who has led the charge in keeping women’s sports fair and equal, shared some supportive text messages on Thursday from parents in California.
Controversy erupted in the Golden State over the weekend after a transgender girl runner finished in second place in a sectional Meet of Champions and was propelled to the state championships later this week.
Gaines shared messages from parents who reached out to her.
"Just a few of the many messages (I’ve) received from the girls + their parents in CA whose sport (T&F) is being infiltrated with mediocre men. They feel helpless. How can you read these and think what's happening is okay? (It’s) discrimination against women and bullying at its finest," Gaines tweeted.
The anonymous messages called Gaines an "inspiration" and another called transgender participation in women’s sports "unfair."
Athena Ryan finished in second place in the varsity girls 1,600-meter run finals on Saturday. Ryan of Sonoma Academy finished behind Hanne Thomsen of Montgomery and ahead of Ellie Buckley of Campolindo. Ryan will advance to the California Interscholastic Federation State Track & Field Championships next week.
Ryan, a junior, appeared to undeterred by the protests and controversy. Ryan finished with a 4:55.91 time result. Ryan finished sixth in the 1,600-meter preliminary race and 21st in the girls 800-meter preliminaries.
Gaines was on Capitol Hill last week for the unveiling of House Republicans’ Women's Bill of Rights legislation. During a press conference Wednesday morning, she explained the bill would define the word "woman" in federal law in order to bolster other bills such as the House’s recently passed Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act.