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New Zealand weightlifter to become first transgender athlete at Olympics

[June 21, 2021: Josh Shavit]

The New Zealand Olympic Committee on Monday has confirmed that weightlifter Laurel Hubbard has been selected to contest the women's 87kg category.

Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard will become the first transgender athlete to compete at the Olympics.

Hubbard, 43, qualified for the rescheduled Tokyo Games in May after a rule change, which effectively guaranteed her a spot in the super heavyweight category. This will be her first time at the Olympic Games — a remarkable comeback after a significant injury in 2018.

"I am grateful and humbled by the kindness and support that has been given to me by so many New Zealanders," Hubbard said in a statement issued by the New Zealand Olympic Committee on Monday.

"When I broke my arm at the Commonwealth Games three years ago, I was advised that my sporting career had likely reached its end. But your support, your encouragement, and your aroha carried me through the darkness," she said, using the Indigenous Maori word for "love."


Hubbard has been eligible to compete at Olympics since 2015 when the International Olympic Committee issued guidelines allowing any transgender athlete to compete as a woman provided their testosterone levels are below 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months before their first competition.

Competing as Gavin Hubbard, her birth name, Hubbard set national records in junior competition and had a best, combined snatch and clean and jerk total of 300 kilograms.

Hubbard transitioned eight years ago at the age of 35. She has since met all of the requirements of the International Olympic Committee's regulations for trans athletes and fair competition.

Australia's weightlifting federation sought to block Hubbard from competing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast but organisers rejected the move.


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