Sport

Michael Phelps’ trans ex-girlfriend says Olympian’s views on trans athletes felt like ‘slap in the face’

Josh Milton January 30, 2022
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Headshot of Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps. (Emma McIntyre/KCASports2017/Getty Images for Nickelodeon)

Michael Phelps’ alleged trans ex-girlfriend has called the US Olympic swimmer a “hypocrite” after he waded into the debate over trans athletes.

Phelps, the flipper-footed swimmer who stands at a towering six-foot-four, called for sport to be an “even playing field” before bizarrely comparing being trans to “doping” in a recent CNN interview.

“I believe we all should be comfortable with who we are in our own skin,” he added.

The 36-year-old was grilled on the topic amid a national debate spurred by trans University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lis Thomas’ success.

Yet only recently did Thomas lose to three cis women and a trans man, placing fifth in the women’s 100-yard freestyle at twin dual meets with Yale and Dartmouth.

To Taylor Lianne Chandler, who has claimed she dated Phelps, it’s clear that Phelps “doesn’t fully understand the science, advantages and disadvantages” of being trans.

Trans athletes are being made out to be ‘epidemic’, says Michael Phelps’ ex

The 49-year-old author told Radar Online this week that the decorated swimmer is “a hypocrite for saying it should be a level playing field”.

“He is genetically superior with his six-foot-seven wingspan, double-jointed ankles and huge [size 14] feet,” she explained.

“His chemical composition allows him to breathe in and fill his lungs and hold his breath longer.

“Even he says that he never competed on a level playing field, inferring doping, and they still could not beat him,” she added.

Phelps’ “harsh” comments about doping left her stung, the trans health coordinator for non-profit Us Helping Us, People Into Living added.

“In that moment of watching and hearing him say those things, it felt like a literal slap in the face,” she said.

Michael Phelps speaks during the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards. (Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)

“I felt like I was good enough to love, lay with and be with, but not be respected or allowed in the women’s sport of swimming – like I was not a woman, but rather an alien or God-knows-what.

“It can’t be a woman’s sport if it doesn’t include all women, period.”

Chandler stressed that the simmering culture war that has erupted around trans people participating in sports – from Fox News segments to lawmakers cruelly targeting trans youth – is overblown.

“People against women in trans sports have, like, five examples to choose from,” she said.

“It’s not like trans women are dominating any sport overall. It is a pocket here and there around the country that the press jumps on to make it seem like it is a world epidemic.”

Chandler told British newspaper The Mirror that she dated Phelps after matching with him on Tinder in 2014. Phelps has never publicly commented on their relationship, however.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association, which regulates more than a thousand student-athletes in the US, announced this month that it has scrapped its decades-long inclusive policy for trans competitors.

Now, individual sport governing bodies must decide if trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming student-athletes can compete, throwing Thomas’ career as a spirited swimmer into jeopardy.

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