Riley Gaines Schools Keith Olbermann On Women’s Sports

It’s no secret that the contentious debate over women’s sports and transgender athletes continues to divide public opinion. But when former sports commentator Keith Olbermann decided to weigh in on the matter by attacking All-American swim star Riley Gaines, he found himself quickly schooled by the young athlete.

On Wednesday, Olbermann, 64, chastised Gaines on the X platform, formerly known as Twitter, saying, “Can you address the reality and move past it? You sucked at swimming. That’s why you lost.” That is a patently false claim when considering Gaines’ impressive achievements — three SEC titles, a second-place finish nationally and SEC “Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year,” to name a few.

What seems to have triggered Olbermann is Gaines’ defense of a recent Nebraska executive order that promotes a traditional understanding of women’s sports, including an acknowledgment of the biological differences between men and women. The order, deemed by Olbermann and allies as “offensive and ridiculous,” was called “realistic” by Gaines, leading to the vitriolic response from Olbermann.

Gaines, however, was not one to take Olbermann’s inaccuracies lying down. She fired back, “Ah, makes sense now why you got fired from ESPN.” She gave Olbermann a virtual tour of her trophy collection, proving her credentials as an elite swimmer. She wittily pointed out, “That’s when I broke the 200 butterfly record, the SEC record, which I still hold, making me one of the fastest Americans of all time.”

Olbermann’s attack reveals a blatant ignorance of Gaines’ achievements and a troubling tendency to undermine the hard work and accomplishments of female athletes. His rhetoric begs the question: “Why do you hate women’s sports?”

Gaines’ experience in the water isn’t the only reason she stands against allowing men to participate in women’s sports. The swimmer has previously indicated she had a distressing encounter with a transgender athlete. Gaines continues to advocate for preserving women’s sports, hosting a show aptly titled “Gaines for Girls,” and is part of a movement signed by over 100 female athletes that calls for keeping women’s sports exclusively female.

While Olbermann continues to berate women athletes, Gaines is on the front line, defending the essence of women’s sports. Her quick reality check to Olbermann serves as a reminder that facts should not be muddied for “inclusion,” especially at the expense of women’s rights, safety and hard-earned achievements.