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IOC Praises Trans Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard For 'Courage And Tenacity' Ahead Of Historic Olympics Debut

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IOC Praises Trans Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard For 'Courage And Tenacity' Ahead Of Historic Olympics Debut

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has hailed New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard for her "courage and tenacity" ahead of her historic debut at Tokyo 2020.

Hubbard, 43, is set to become the first transgender athlete to compete at the Olympics when she takes part in the women's 87kg weightlifting on 2nd August at the Tokyo International Forum.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

However, the New Zealander's participation in women's weightlifting at Tokyo 2020 has sparked significant backlash online.

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Hubbard, who came out as trans in 2013, saw her position to compete at the Olympics supported by rule changes under the IOC in 2015.

IOC medical and science director Dr Richard Budgett said that "everyone agrees that trans women are women."

He insisted that Hubbard is "competing under the rules of her federation" ahead of her participation in the women's super-heavyweight category.

Speaking at a news conference on Friday, Budgett said: "To put it in a nutshell, the IOC had a scientific consensus back in 2015.

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"There are no IOC rules or regulations around transgender participation. That depends on each international federation.

"So Laurel Hubbard is a woman, is competing under the rules of her federation and we have to pay tribute to her courage and tenacity in actually competing and qualifying for the Games."

IOC rules permit an athlete can compete in women's competitions if they have transitioned from male to female, even if they haven't had surgery to remove their testes.

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But trans athletes must maintain that their total testosterone level is below 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months ahead of a competition.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

While Hubbard came out as trans in 2013, she initially transitioned in 2012 after she underwent male puberty.

Budgett stressed the importance of "inclusion" at the Olympics and staunchly defended Hubbard against criticism of her going through male puberty.

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"There are lots of aspects of physiology and anatomy, and the mental side, that contribute to an elite performance," he said.

"It's very difficult to say, 'Yes, she has an advantage because she went through male puberty,' when there's so many other factors to take into account. It's not simple.

"Each sport has to make their own assessment depending on the physiology of that sport, so that they can ensure there is fair competition, but also the inclusion of everyone -- whether they're male or female -- so they are able to take part in the sport they love."

Featured Image Credit: PA/Ruptly

Topics: 2020 Summer Olympics, Laurel Hubbard

Adnan Riaz
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