For the past few months, swimmer Lia Thomas has made headlines surrounding her status in collegiate competition.
Thomas made history this weekend when she became the first known trans athlete to win a Division I national title. She won the women's Division I national championship in the 500-yard freestyle. After this weekend's event at the NCAA swimming championships, she ended her collegiate swimming career.
On Sunday, Reka Gyorgy wrote an open letter about Thomas's participation. Gyorgy, a 2016 Rio Olympian and a swimmer on Virginia Tech's team, wrote to NCAA to address her inclusion. "I'd like to point out that I respect and fully stand with Lia Thomas; I am convinced that she is no different than me or any other D1 swimmer who has woken up at 5am her entire life for morning practice," she wrote.
"On the other hand, I would like to critique the NCAA rules that her allow her to compete against us, who are biologically women."
In Gyorgy's letter, she points out that she is in her final year and her position of 17th place meant that she did not make it into the finals.
"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," she wrote. "It hurts me, my team and other women in the pool."
Not long after, a Twitter account claiming to be Gyorgy with over 17,000 followers tweeted about the incident.
"My finals spot was stolen by Lia Thomas, who is a biological male," it wrote under the handle @RekaGyorgy_. "Until we all refuse to compete nothing will change. Thanks for all the support retweets and follows I won't stop fighting."
The tweet racked up at least 170,000 likes and 42,900 retweets. There were also 3,006 quote tweets. Caitlyn Jenner quote-tweeted the post in support while many others quote-tweeted it to criticize the sentiment. But as some began to point out there was no indication that this account was connected to Gyorgy.
The account in question had few other tweets available outside of the Thomas post. In fact, there were only about five retweets on the account's timeline and one original tweet. That post proclaimed "followed again" and was uploaded on February 16, 2022. The post had been quote-tweeted by someone else who wrote "Fake account. Real one is @DefiantLs."
All of the likes from the account were posts from American conservatives criticizing the response to the ongoing pandemic and the Biden administration. Many of those likes were in some way related to the Twitter account @Catturd2. The handle became more widely known as Donald Trump retweeted it multiple times to back his election-fraud claims. At one point, the handle began to trend on Twitter.
Less than 24 hours after the Thomas tweet was sent, the account was suspended. While conservatives are alleging that the suspension was due to censorship -- Twitter rarely censors homophobia and transphobia like that the @RekaGyorgy_ account posted -- the account was likely suspended for impersonation, which is against the service's guidelines.