Laurel Hubbard Becomes First Openly Transgender Olympic Competitor
Hubbard’s presence has pushed weightlifting competition, which often receives far less attention than gymnastics, swimming, track and field, and other Olympic sports, to center stage. Still, Hubbard doesn’t have much beyond a statement a few weeks ago after being selected to compete. She rarely speaks to the media, although she said in 2017 that she does not see herself as a standard bearer for trans athletes.
The New Zealand Olympic Committee has protected Hubbard since his arrival in Tokyo. Kereyn Smith, the committee’s general secretary, called Hubbard a “pretty private person” and said she wanted her lifting to be the main focus of her concerns.
Hubbard has won several tournaments in the Asia-Pacific region in recent years, but appeared before a world audience on Monday against competitors including world record holder from China, Li Wenwen, and Sarah Robles, a medal-winning American. bronze at the Rio Games in 2016.
In recent years, weightlifting has been more likely to grab the headlines because athletes have been caught using performance enhancing substances. After decades of doping, bribery, electoral fraud and corruption at weightlifting’s top levels, the International Olympic Committee took action last year by threatening to remove the sport from the Games in the months to come if the International Weightlifting Federation does not present a host of fixes, including stringent drug testing and governance changes.
The International Olympic Committee has left it up to sports federations to decide whether and how trans athletes can compete, and Hubbard has met all the requirements set by the International Weightlifting Federation.
Hubbard won junior titles in men’s competitions before her transition, but stopped lifting in her 20s because, she told an interviewer, “it got too much to bear” while she was struggling to face her identity. She resumed competition in 2012, five years after her transition. When she won three titles in 2017, her performances sparked a firestorm on social media.
Last week, IOC officials announced that they would soon adopt new guidelines, initially developed in 2015, governing the participation of transgender women in Olympic sports, as they consider the current rules to be outdated.
#Laurel #Hubbard #Openly #Transgender #Olympic #Competitor