IOC Gives Permission to Openly Transgender Olympian to Compete in Tokyo Summer Games

The International Olympic Committee has cleared Team New Zealand transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard to participate in the women’s super-heavyweight 87+kg category in May despite criticism.

AceShowbizLaurel Hubbard is the first openly transgender Olympian to compete in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. On Saturday, July 17, the International Olympic Committee cleared the Team New Zealand transgender weightlifter to participate in the Summer Games despite criticism.

“The rules for qualification have been established by the International Weightlifting Federation before the qualifications started,” said IOC President Thomas Bach during a news conference. “These rules apply, and you cannot change rules during ongoing competitions.”

Bach also mentioned that the rules would be reviewed with all stakeholders involved to come up with new guidelines in the future. “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,” he added. “It differs from sport to sport.”

Back in 2015, the IOC issued new guidelines in which it stated that a transgender athlete can compete as a woman with a condition. Their testosterone levels remain below 10 nanomoles per liter for a minimum of 12 months ahead of their first competition.

Bach explained, “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.”

Prior to transitioning in 2013, Hubbard competed in men’s weightlifting competitions. Australia’s weightlifting association tried to get her blocked from competing in the Commonwealth Games back in 2018, though it was unsuccessful.

In response to the backlash that she received, Hubbard said during her appearance on Radio New Zealand in 2017, “It’s not my role or my goal to change people’s minds. I would hope they would support me, but it’s not for me to make them do so.”

Hubbard will be competing in the women’s super-heavyweight 87+kg category.

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