Olympic Committee Announces First Transgender Athlete Will Compete At Olympics

New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard maybe the first transgender to compete in the Olympic games, according to WXII12.

Hubbard was allowed to compete in this year’s Olympic games after a rule change.

Before her transformation, Hubbard used to compete in the men’s weightlifting competitions.

Belgian weightlifter Anna Vanbellinghen said that Hubbard being allowed to compete was “unfair” and “like a bad joke.”

Hubbard will be competing within the women’s 191.8 Lb. category.

“I am grateful and humbled by the kindness and support that has been given to me by so many New Zealanders,” stated the athlete.

“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.”

“We acknowledge that gender identity in sport is a highly sensitive and complex issue requiring a balance between human rights and fairness on the field of play,” stated Kereyn Smith.

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“As the New Zealand Team, we have a strong culture of manaaki and inclusion and respect for all,” Smith stated.

“We are committed to supporting all eligible New Zealand athletes and ensuring their mental and physical wellbeing, along with their high-performance needs, while preparing for and competing at the Olympic Games are met.”

From WXII 12:

Weightlifting has been a focus in an ongoing heated debate over transgender athletes competing in women’s sports. Dozens of U.S. states are considering legislation that would prevent transgender women and girls from participating in women’s categories, with several that have already enacted sports bans this year.

Hubbard’s participation in women’s categories has drawn controversy before — in 2018, Australia’s weightlifting federation sought to block her from competing at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, but organizers rejected the move.

Hubbard competed in men’s weightlifting competitions before transitioning in 2013. She has been eligible to compete in the Olympics since 2015, when the IOC issued new guidelines allowing any transgender athlete to compete as a woman provided their testosterone levels are below 10 nanomoles per liter for at least 12 months before their first competition, according to Reuters.

She has been confirmed eligible this year for the Olympics after meeting criteria by the International Weightlifting Federation, International Olympic Committee, and New Zealand Olympic Committee, said the committee statement on Monday.

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