The 43-year-old New Zealander was selected by her country to compete in the women's +87kg super-heavyweight category at Tokyo 2020 in the summer.
And Hubbard made history by becoming the first openly transgender woman to take part in the Olympics, despite being met with fierce criticism over her participation.
The trans weightlifter failed to impress at the 2020 Summer Olympics and crashed out of the competition after three failed snatch lifts.
The University of Otago has now revealed that Hubbard won their accolade for New Zealand sportswoman of the year.
Hubbard insisted that her award win “belongs to everyone” who helped her during her Olympic campaign.
“It is not possible for athletes to compete at the Olympic level without the encouragement and aroha of friends, family and supporters,” she told Otago Daily Times.
“This award belongs to everyone who has been part of my Olympic journey.”
Otago University Students’ Association president Michaela Waite-Harvey insisted that Hubbard was a "worthy" winner of the award.
She added: “We could think of no-one more worthy of sportswoman of the year than Laurel Hubbard who represented Otago and New Zealand incredibly well at this year’s Tokyo Olympics.’’
Hubbard was eligible for selection at Tokyo 2020 after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) changed its rule in 2015.
Under the new rules, trans athletes are allowed to compete in woman’s sports if their testosterone levels were below a certain threshold.
Hubbard transitioned to female in 2012, but the Auckland-born athlete previously represented New Zealand as a male athlete.
During the women's +87kg weightlifting at Tokyo 2020, Hubbard failed to lift 120kg before she failed two 125kg efforts in the snatch.
Speaking after her appearance at the Tokyo International Forum, she said: “I'm not entirely unaware of the controversy which surrounds my participation at these Games.
“And as such, I would particularly like to thank the IOC, for I think really affirming its commitment to the principles of Olympism and establishing that sport is something for all people, that it is inclusive and is accessible.”
Hubbard has hinted that she could retire from professional weightlifting after her historic Olympics debut, saying that Father Time has “caught up with me.”
Featured Image Credit: PA
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