TOKYO – New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, who made history – and courted controversy – as the first transgender Olympian, is already out of the Tokyo games after failing to clear any lifts in her first round of competition on Monday.
Hubbard failed three initial snatch attempts in a row in the 87-kilogram category which instantly put her out of the competition, preventing her from moving on to the clean and jerk and dashing any hopes of taking home a medal.
After transitioning from male to female at the age of 35, Hubbard, now 43, had adhered to the qualifications of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for transgendered athletes to compete in the games, including keeping their testosterone level at 10 nanomoles per liter for a year, which is still five times more than the average biological woman possesses.
Hubbard being allowed to compete on New Zealand’s Olympic weightlifting team opened up debates over the potential fairness of allowing someone who had been born male and gone through puberty to compete with biological women, citing the inherent physical advantages men possess on average.
However, her sudden inability to even make it past the first round in Tokyo on Monday was considered surprising for numerous reasons. For example, Hubbard failed Monday to complete her first snatch attempt at 120kg and two more attempts at 125kg, despite having won a gold medal with a successful 123kg snatch at the 2017 Australian International & Australian Open in Melbourne.
Despite not making it past the first round, Hubbard nonetheless thanked the IOC for giving her the chance to compete.
“The Olympic Games are a global celebration of our hopes, our ideals and our values. I commend the IOC for its commitment to making sport inclusive and accessible,” she said.