Transgender Weightlifter Expected to Compete as Woman in the Tokyo Olympics

Transgender Weightlifter Expected to Compete as Woman in the Tokyo Olympics

Transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard may be the first transgender athlete to compete at the Tokyo Olympics this summer.

According to The Guardian, Hubbard will represent New Zealand during the Olympic games.

Hubbard qualifies for the games after the International Olympic Committee amended the qualification rules because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The New Zealand wrestling team has not confirmed Hubbard’s spot on the team, but a source with the International Weightlifting Federation confirmed to The Guardian that Hubbard would compete this summer. The team will be formally nominated in June.

Hubbard, 43, will also be the oldest weightlifter to compete at an Olympics. Hubbard is ranked 4th out of 14 qualifiers in the super heavyweight category at the Tokyo Olympics.

Under IOC guidelines, athletes who transition from male to female can compete in the women’s category without surgery as long as their total testosterone level in serum is kept below 10 nanomoles per liter for at least one year.

Yahoo Sports reports that Hubbard lived as a male for 35 years before transitioning to a female in 2012. Hubbard competed as a man until 2001 and stopped because of “the pressure of trying to fit into, perhaps, a world that wasn’t really set up for people like myself,” the athlete said in 2017.

“To be honest, I had to wait until the world changed before I could really compete again, and I’m grateful that it has,” Hubbard added. “I think even 10 years ago, the world perhaps wasn’t ready for an athlete like myself, and perhaps it’s not ready now. But I got the sense at least that people were willing to consider me for these competitions.

Hubbard has been competing internationally for years and has won a gold medal in the 2019 Pacific Games and a sixth-place finish at the 2019 World Championships. Hubbard won 2nd place in the 2017 World Championships.

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Alex Pantling/Staff

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.