Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard to make history as first trans Olympian

Athlete and trans woman Laurel Hubbard is set to make history as the first transgender person to compete in the Olympic Games.

Representing New Zealand, Hubbard will be heading to Tokyo to compete in the women’s super heavyweight 87kg+ event later this year.

“I am grateful and humbled by the kindness and support that has been given to me by so many New Zealanders,” Hubbard said of her selection.

“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’ [affection] carried me through the darkness.”

In 2018, officials from The Commonwealth Games Federation released a statement dismissing a complaint from the head of the Australian Weightlifting Foundation, outlining that she met all of the prerequisites to compete in the women’s category.

Since 2004, the International Olympic Committee has had guidelines in place for transgender athletes in gendered categories. The guidelines were amended in 2015 to allow trans folks to compete without having to undergo gender affirmation surgery, or legal recoginition of their gender, noting the latter would be difficult for many competitors. Trans women must demonstrate less than 10 nanomoles per liter of testosterone to be eligible to participate.

Australian weightlifter Charisma Amoe-Tarrant says she has competed with Hubbard before and wishes her the best as a competitor in the same category.

“I have so much respect for her,” Amoe-Tarrant told Sydney Morning Herald.

“I hope we can all come together and enjoy the Olympics. This Olympics is quite different, I just wish her well. I’ve competed with her, I’ve always had some good chats with her.”

New Zealand’s Olympic Committee chief executive Kereyn Smith has also voiced her support for Hubbard’s selection.

“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,” Smith said.

OIP Staff


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