Medal or not, New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard has made history. She is the first transgender athlete to qualify for the Olympics.
New qualification rules
Hubbard was born as a boy, but underwent gender reassignment surgery in his thirties. As a woman, she was allowed to participate in the Games, in part thanks to the new qualification rules of the International Weightlifting Association.
Yesterday she competed in Tokyo in the over 87 kilograms category, but failed to put in a good performance. Twice the weightlifter dropped the bar behind her. The third time, Hubbard appeared to be successful in raising the bar in the air, but two of the three judges ruled that she did not have full control.
Surprisingly quick end
As a result, the Olympic weightlifter adventure ended surprisingly quickly. China’s Li Wenwen won gold in the category, Britain’s Emily Campbell won silver.
Hubbard spoke briefly with reporters in attendance before leaving Tokyo. She thanked the New Zealand Olympic Committee, the Japanese organizers of the Olympic Games and, in particular, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for being “extremely supported”.
Hubbard’s participation reignited the debate on the competitive advantage of trans athletes in elite sport:
“Not quite undisputed”
“These organizations have shown that sport is something anyone can do,” said the weightlifter.
“It’s inclusive, it’s accessible and I think it’s fantastic. I know my participation in the Games has not been totally undisputed, but they have been amazing. They have helped me a lot and I follow them. so grateful. Thank you. “
The New Zealander declined to answer journalists’ questions, but rang the bell according to The Guardian sad when she said: “Thank you very much for your interest in my performance tonight. From a sporting point of view I did not have a good performance and I probably did not live up to it my country’s expectations. “
“One of the things I am extremely grateful for is all the love and encouragement I have felt from the New Zealand fans.”
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