Former NCAA swimmer, and now conservative activist, Riley Gaines was on Capitol Hill to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The purpose was titled “Protecting Pride: Defending the Civil Rights of LGBTQ+ Americans,” to claim that biological males have no advantage over biological women when it comes to sports.
During the hearing, Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) asked Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Kelley Robinson, who identifies as the first queer black president of HRC, if she could give evidence that biological males have no advantage over women in sports.
“You don’t believe that a biological male has a physical advantage in sports over a biological female?” Kennedy asked.
“Not as a definitive statement,” Robinson admitted.
“Give me an example … nah, well, I don’t think … how many female members of the NBA do you see?” Kennedy asked.
“I can say that there’s been this news article about men that think they can beat Serena Williams in tennis, right? That they think they could actually score a point on her,” Robinson replied. “And it’s just not the case. She is stronger than them.”
Kennedy then asked Gaines the same question who instead of relating to her own experience fact-checked the Democrat witness.
“Both Serena and Venus lost to the 203rd ranked male tennis player, which — they’re phenoms for women,” she said. “My experience, my husband, he swam at the University of Kentucky as well. In terms of accolades, in terms of national ranking, I was a much better swimmer than him. He could kick my butt any day of the week — without trying.”
Gaines was referencing a 1998 match after the Williams sisters declared that no male player outside of the top 200 in the world could beat them. German player Karsten Braasch, ranked 203 in the men’s division took them up on the challenge. He beat Serena 6-1 and Venus 6-2.
“I didn’t know it would be that difficult. I played shots that would have been winners on the women’s circuit and he got to them very easily,” Serena observed when it was over.
Braasch’s assessment was a bit more brutal: “They wouldn’t have had a chance against anyone inside the top 500 because today I played like someone ranked 600th to keep it fun.”
Between sets, Braasch would smoke and sip a beer.
When Serena was asked about the match years later she said, “I forgot about that, actually. Gosh, I don’t remember that at all. Gosh, that was forever ago. I don’t remember what year it was.”
During the same interview, she was asked if she would do it again and her response was much different.
“I don’t know,” she said. “I’m pretty much focused on women’s tennis right now. I have to focus on that.”