Erica Sullivan Says There Was No Podium Protest After 500 Freestyle at NCAA’s

2022 NCAA Division Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships

Erica Sullivan Reply to a comment on an Instagram post stating that a photo of Emma Wayantand Sullivan and Brock Ford It wasn’t a protest on the podium Leah ThomasShe won the 500 freestyle at the 2022 NCAA Women’s Championships on Thursday.

Weyant, Sullivan and Forde finished second, third and fourth in the 500 freestyle. The trio were all teammates on the Olympic team in Tokyo.

DannyReds commented on an Instagram post, “I wish she hadn’t advanced with the 3rd and 4th place girls with Lia alone on the podium.”

Sullivan replied, “@DannyReds dude, I was taking a picture with my best friends from the Olympics. That was after my first group photo was taken. News sites used that photo and took it out of context.”

Sullivan points to the photo taken on the podium for the 500 Freestyle Final. After the awards ceremony and the full podium photo shoot, Weyant, Sullivan and Forde posed for a photo in third place, after the remaining contestant exited the photo. Thomas was still in her prime while this photo was taken. While the Olympians were filming, a wider shot of this photo featuring Thomas standing at number one went viral on the internet, with news sites taking the photo out of context and calling it a protest by excluding Thomas.

After the 500 freestyle race, the internet and social media spread as people referred to Wayant as the “real winner”. Weyant has gained a massive number of Instagram followers since the 500 Freestyle Final. Before the event, she had 29.1 thousand followers. At the time of writing this article, she has 40.4K followers, an increase of 11.3K followers. After the race, Weyant received about 1,200 comments on her last Instagram post about 500 freebies, although the photo had nothing to do with the contest.

Both Sullivan and Ford publicly supported Thomas’ participation in the NCAA competition. Sullivan was one of more than 300 NCAA swimmers who signed a letter in support of Thomas, transgender and non-binary athletes. Additionally, Sullivan wrote an opinion piece for Newsweek titled “Why I’m Proud to Support Trans Athletes Like Leah Thomas.” Ford wrote a statement in support of Thomas that her father Pat Fordy, a Sports Illustrated reporter, read on the College Football Enquirer podcast.

In Thursday’s 500 Freestyle Final, Thomas became the first openly transgender swimmer to win an NCAA title, and the first transgender person to win an NCAA Division I title, finishing in 4:33.24 seconds. The Olympic trio finished second, third, and fourth. Wayan finished second (4:34.99), Sullivan finished third (4:35.92), and Fordy finished fourth (4:36.18).

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