Former University of Kentucky swimming star Riley Gaines and professional surfer Bethany Hamilton are teaming up to share their stories about defending opportunities for women in sports.
They faced hate and career hardships for speaking out against the inclusion of biological men in female competitions.
Hamilton, known for her surfing success despite losing her arm in a shark attack, gave up her career in protest against men competing in women’s events.
“Together our message is stronger,” Gaines said. “We’re drawing a clean line in the sand to show people where we stand,” she said.
“People have wished death upon my life. It makes you sad that society can be so gnarly,” Hamilton said.
“Men’s and women’s bodies are created differently, and we have different strengths and weaknesses no matter how hard we try,” she said.
“It’s not fair and I can’t support it,” she added. “I need to stand up for the next generation of girls pushing surfing forward. I want the best for them.”
“D— u sure u got two legs to stand on for this?” one Instagram user attacked Hamilton.
“Nice that they let you compete despite your intellectual disability,” another said.
Gaines, a 12-time NCAA All-American swimmer, became an advocate after being forced to compete against a male swimmer.
Both have authored children’s books, aiming to inspire future generations to stand up for what’s right.
Their partnership seeks to encourage success in sports, faith, and life.
“Together we can teach future generations to stand up for themselves and to stand up for what’s right,” Gaines said. “To stand up for the truth.”