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18th Jul 2021

Trans weightlifter cleared by Olympics Committee to compete in Tokyo

Kieran Galpin

A massive moment in history for weightlifting

Transgender athlete Laurel Hubbard has been cleared by officials to compete in Tokyo’s Olympic Games. She will compete in New Zealand’s female weightlifting team, and this decision does not conflict with any rules currently in effect.


“The rules for qualification have been established by the International Weightlifting Federation before the qualifications started,” said Thomas Bach, the head honcho at the International Olympics Committee.

“These rules apply, and you cannot change rules during ongoing competitions.

“At the same time the IOC is in an inquiry phase with all different stakeholders… to review these rules and finally to come up with some guidelines which cannot be rules because this is a question where there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

“It differs from sport to sport.”

[caption id="attachment_281122" align="alignnone" width="2048"]Trans weightlifter Trans weightlifter Laurel Hubbard will make history as the first trans-person to compete at the Olympics/Via Getty.

Bach was asked several times if he agrees with Hubbard’s appearance at the Olympics, to which he dodged on numerous occasions. He finally answered with, “The rules are in place and the rules have to be applied and you cannot change the rules during an ongoing qualification system.”

“This is what all the athletes of the world are relying on: that the rules are being applied.”

Hubbard’s place in the Olympics is a monumental point in history. As the first-ever trans-person to compete, she is under a lot of pressure to represent her country and her community as well.

Hubbard had the following to say:

“I am grateful and humbled by the kindness and support that has been given to me by so many New Zealanders.

“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 [love] carried me through the darkness.

“The last eighteen months has shown us all that there is strength in kinship, in community, and in working together towards a common purpose.

“The mana [honour] of the silver fern comes from all of you and I will wear it with pride.”