Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, who won gold in the 2019 Pacific Games, is expected to continue to break records at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Hubbard is a transgender woman and will be competing in women’s categories.
Hubbard, 43, would be the oldest weightlifting Olympian in the competition. She hasn’t been officially placed on the team yet, but “an International Weightlifting Federation insider confirmed to the Guardian that she would automatically qualify because of amended rules approved by the International Olympic Committee.”
That same insider also told the outlet that “while teams did not have to be named until 5 July, under the new qualification rules, which had come into effect after several competitions were lost because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Hubbard was sure of a place in Tokyo if fit.”
Hubbard transitioned to a female at 35 years old, so retained all the advantages of having grown up male. Hubbard has testosterone levels low enough that the International Olympic Committee allows the transgender athlete to compete against women.
Hubbard took the gold in weightlifting at the 2019 Pacific Games, lifting 268 kg, which was 7 kg and 13 kg more than her closest competitors. For comparison, the men’s Gold Coast competition was won with a lift of 330 kg.
In a 2017 interview after placing second in a world championship lifting event, Hubbard said, “The rules that enabled me to compete first went into effect in 2003. They are known as the Stockholm consensus with the IOC but I think even 10 years ago the world perhaps wasn’t ready for an athlete like myself— and perhaps it is not ready now. But I got the sense at least that people were willing to consider me for these competitions and it seemed like the right time to put the boots on and hit the platform.”
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) requires that males who identify as women that want to compete in women’s events must have lowered their testosterone levels to 10 nmol/liter for a period of 12 months or more.The debate over biological males competing in women’s sports has become heated in the US. Many states have introduced legislation to ban the practice. Caitlyn Jenner, who competed and won in the Olympic games as Bruce Jenner, has said that it’s not fair for biological males to compete against women.