Laurel Hubbard, a weightlifter, was not looking for the attention that would come with being the first openly transgender woman in the Olympics.
At the Tokyo Games, the 43-year old was under intense scrutiny. Ultimately, she didn’t win — Hubbard couldn’t complete any of her first three lifts and finished out of contention for a medal.
However, it was secondary to being authentic to return to New Zealand empty-handed.
She said, “All I have ever wanted to become is myself.” “I am so thankful that I have the chance to be me and come here.”
Hubbard was quiet during the build-up to the Olympics, and the competition, except for statements made by the federation. He is soft-spoken, and very private. The Olympic stage was a dream come true for Hubbard, both as an athlete and competitor.
She stated that what drives her in sport is the sport itself to a small group reporters on Tuesday. This is the pinnacle weightlifting event, like it is for many other sports. That’s why I’m here. Anyone I believe can train at their own pace, but it’s a privilege to be called up on the platform. You have one minute to accomplish this. This is the true test for anyone, weightlifting or not.
Tokyo Games is the first Olympics where transgender athletes are allowed to compete.
Quinn, a non-binary player for the Canadian women’s soccer team, came out last year and goes by they and them pronouns. Quinn is guaranteed a medal after Canada advanced to the gold medal match against Sweden Friday. Chelsea Wolfe is a transgender woman who was selected as a reserve for the U.S. women’s BMX Freestyle Team. American skateboarder Alana Smith, who is non-binary, has written “they/them” on their board.
Hubbard, 35 when she transitioned, minimized her historic role in the Olympics.
She stated that these types of situations are always difficult for her because, as many of you may be aware, I have never been actively involved in sport for the sake of publicity, profile, or exposure. “And while I understand that sport is a hot topic, I still look forward to the end of my journey as an athlete and all the attention it brings.
In 2004, the International Olympic Committee allowed transgender athletes to participate. In 2015 the IOC drew up a set of recommendations for transgender athletes.