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2020 Tokyo Olympics: Laurel Hubbard, transgender weightlifter, makes history at Games despite early exit

CBS Sports logo CBS Sports 8/3/2021 Chris Bengel
a person posing for the camera © Provided by CBS Sports

Laurel Hubbard, a transgender weightlifter from New Zealand, was eliminated from the women's 87+ kilogram competition on Monday after failing on all three of her lift attempts. Hubbard was the only one out of the 13 finalists that failed to complete a lift.

While Hubbard wasn't able to complete a lift, she did make a heart out of her hands and was clearly grateful for her opportunity after the final attempt.

"Thank you so very much for your interest in my humble sporting performance tonight," Hubbard said, according to Yahoo. "I know from a sporting perspective I did not live up to the standards I put upon myself."

Hubbard, 43, was the oldest of the 13 finalists in the women's 87+ kilogram competition. The New Zealand native didn't transition to female until she was 35 years old.

She was able to participate in the Games due to a change in the International Olympic Committee's transgender guidelines that took place in 2015. That change states that athletes who transition from male to female can compete in the women's category as long as their total testosterone level in serum is less than 10 nanomoles per liter for at least 12 months.

"I am grateful and humbled by the kindness and support that has been given to me by so many New Zealanders," she said, according to The Guardian, after being selected to compete in the Games in early June. "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."


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