Laurel Hubbard looks set to retire after Tokyo Olympics appearance 2 months ago

Laurel Hubbard looks set to retire after Tokyo Olympics appearance

Hubbard, 43, is the third oldest lifter in Olympic history

After making history by being the first transgender athlete to compete in the Olympics, New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard is set to retire from professional weightlifting.

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The 43-year-old - who transitioned back in 2012 - unfortunately, failed all three of her snatches in the women's heavyweight competition (87+kg), but received an ovation following her history-making moment.

Following her abrupt exit, Hubbard said: "Age has caught up with me. In fact, if we're being honest it probably caught up with me some time ago", stating that were it not for lots of anti-inflammatories, she probably wouldn't have made it this far.

Despite people having debated whether she should have been allowed to compete in women's events at all over the past few years, Hubbard is more than 20 years older than some of her rivals and her testosterone levels still fall within the International Olympic Committee's limits. It is a remarkable achievement not only for the LGBTQIA+ community but as a sportsperson.

The IOC has actually announced the previous regulations around trans athletes' qualification for Olympic events will change after Tokyo 2020, stating that they believe think "the threat to women's sport has probably been overstated."

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Nevertheless, Hubbard continues to face criticism both at home and abroad. Steve Hodge, the owner of NZ fashion brand, Illicit Clothing, used his personal social media account to say he was "ashamed" to see "this guy" competing on behalf of the country.

It was only after journalist, David Farrier - who you might know from the Netflix documentary series, Dark Tourist, and from the Armchair Expert podcast's mini-series 'Armchaired & Dangerous' - called him out on Twitter that it was picked up.

Hodge has since apologised for the transphobic posts - presumably only because he'd been exposed by someone he lies, no less:

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“I appreciate David’s work, I’ve always followed him. I am not anti-trans by any means. I’m still coming to terms with the element of unfairness you see due to the natural biological advantages.

I acknowledge wholeheartedly and apologise for not using my platform while having the right time to address these points in a helpful way. My apologies again to Laurel, I’m sorry about that."

Regardless, Farrier's point still stands: casual transphobia is still rampant online and in society, in general.