Post claiming IOC banned transgender swimmer Lia Thomas for life is satire | Fact check

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The claim: The IOC banned transgender swimmer Lia Thomas for life

An Aug. 28 Facebook post (direct link, archive link) shows a cutout photo of transgender swimmer Lia Thomas.

“International Olympic Committee Issues Lifetime Ban For Lia Thomas,” reads text in the photo.

Many commenters took the post seriously.

“Finally a win for real girls competing!!!!” wrote one Facebook user.

“It should be this way across all women's category sports!!!” wrote another.

The Facebook post was shared more than 7,000 times in three days.

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Our rating: Satire

The post was published and shared by a satirical website. A footnote to the story linked in the post states, "Nothing on this page is real."

Post came from website labeled as fiction

Thomas became the first transgender athlete to win a national championship at the NCAA’s highest level in March 2022, when she won the Division I title in the women’s 500-yard freestyle.

The accomplishment made her a central figure in the ongoing national discussion about transgender women in sports – and a subject of satire.

Fact check: Twitter suspension of fake Réka György account unrelated to Lia Thomas

The post was shared by an account for America’s Last Line of Defense, a network of satirical websites. It contains a link to a longer story with the same title posted on The Dunning-Kruger Times, one of the satirical network's websites.

The story includes a disclaimer at the bottom that reads, "Nothing on this page is real.” The site’s “About Us” section says “Everything on this website is fiction.”

A previous satirical story on the site claimed the U.S. national women’s volleyball team threatened to quit if Thomas had been allowed to try out.

“The answer to the satire question is always going to be yes,” Christopher Blair, who operates the website, previously told USA TODAY. “I don't publish the truth on any of the websites you'll find on ALLOD.”

When the International Olympic Committee sanctions an athlete, the organization makes an announcement on its website, as it did in 2017 when four Russian athletes who compete in the skeleton event were barred as part of a doping investigation. The organization has made no such announcement about Thomas, and there have been no credible media reports of her supposed ban.

The story also identifies the IOC chairman as Joe Barron – a name that frequently appears in Dunning-Kruger Times stories. It has been used to refer to the supposed CEO of Publix, the CEO of Levi's and the chairman of Disney. The IOC does not have a chairman, and Thomas Bach has been its president since 2013.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Claim that Olympic committee banned Lia Thomas is satire | Fact check