The New Zealander says goodbye to the Tokyo event after failing in her three attempts in the category over 87 kilos
New Zealander Laurel Hubbard has become, at 43, the first transgender athlete in dispute about Olympic Games. He has participated in the category of more than 87 kilos, from which he has fired after failing his three attempts to lift 120 and 125 kilos.
Until the age of 30, Hubbard was called Gavin. He was the son of the former mayor of Auckland City and had participated until he was 23 in men’s weightlifting competitions. In 2012, she began hormonal therapy that allowed her to participate, 16 years later, in a tournament, although this time for women. “I’m not here to change the world,” Hubbard said at the time. “I just want to be me and do what I do.”
A year later it became the first transgender athlete in competing in some Commonwealth Games. The Australian Weightlifting Federation He then tried to prevent his participation, considering that his muscles and strength (developed when he was a man) gave him a physical advantage beyond his testosterone level. A complaint that did not prevent him from competing, as he met the criteria of the International Weightlifting Federation, which required that the level of testosterone be below 10 nanomoles per liter for a period of at least 12 months.
The same thing that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) requires since its change of regulation in 2015, in which it also indicates that to compete as a woman you must declare yourself as such and it is not necessary to undergo surgery.
New IOC regulation
“At that time the 10 nanomoles per liter were established because we thought it was the lowest level for men. Now we know that they drop to seven,” he acknowledged Richard Budgett. The IOC scientific and medical director admitted last weekend that its current guidelines for transgender athletes are not fit for purpose, and announced that it plans to launch a new one in the next two months.
“Everybody agrees that trans women are women. But it’s a question of eligibility for sport, and for certain events, and it really has to be very sport-specific,” Budgett said. “There is a lot of disagreement across the sporting world and beyond on this question of eligibility.” Not only because there are studies that the level of testosterone in men can drop as much as seven nanomoles, but because other research indicates that those who have passed male puberty before the transition maintain significant advantages even after treatments to lower testosterone.
“Anyone who has trained weightlifting to a high level knows this to be true. This particular situation. It is unfair to sports and athletes. It is a joke in bad taste,” said one of his rivals before the Games, the belgian Anna Van Bellinghen, one of the critical voices with the presence of Hubbard.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.