Laurel Hubbard, 43 from New Zealand becomes the first transgender to participate at an olympics after she was selected for the women’s weightlifting team for Tokyo 2020, after qualifying requirements were recently modified.
Laurel before coming out as transgender in 2013 competed in men’s events.
Laurel in a statement released by by the New Zealand Olympic Committee on Monday, June 21, said;
“I am grateful and humbled by the kindness and support that has been given to me by so many New Zealanders,”
She became eligible to compete at the Olympics when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2015 changed its rules allowing transgender athletes to compete as a woman if their testosterone levels are below a certain threshold.
Belgian weightlifter Anna Vanbellinghen, who is competing in the same category, said that if Hubbard were to compete in Tokyo it would be unfair for women and “like a bad joke”.
She said that while she fully supported the transgender community, the principle of inclusion should not be “at the expense of others”.
“Anyone that has trained weightlifting at a high level knows this to be true in their bones: this particular situation is unfair to the sport and to the athletes,” she said in May.
“Life-changing opportunities are missed for some athletes – medals and Olympic qualifications – and we are powerless.”