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Sports

Report: Rule Change Means Transgender Weightlifter Will Likely Compete in the Olympics

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A transgender weightlifter from New Zealand appears to be on track to be the first openly transgender Olympic athlete.

Laurel Hubbard competed as a man prior to 2013.  He is now likely to compete in the women’s super heavyweight category in the Tokyo Olympic Games, Inside the Games reported Wednesday.

The New Zealand Olympic Committee said in a statement it is “very likely” Hubbard, 43, will qualify for a spot at the Olympics by the May 31 deadline, according to NBC. If he does, the committee will decide in June whether to nominate him to the Olympic team.

Despite reports saying modified qualification rules in light of the coronavirus pandemic made Hubbard’s selection a sure bet, the committee did not commit to his selection.

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“We are not in a position to comment on the likelihood of any athlete’s selection until we have the necessary evidence,” the statement from the NZOC said.

Weightlifters are selected by the committee based on their scores in qualifying events and the likelihood they will place in the top eight in the Tokyo Games. As of now, Hubbard is ranked 16th in the world, which makes his selection likely.

The competing events will not be completed until the end of May, and the International Olympic Committee recently approved extending the deadline for qualifying until after those events.

IOC guidelines adopted in 2015 allow men to compete as women if their testosterone level is below a limit set by the committee and is maintained below that level for a year.

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Hubbard won silver at the 2017 World Championships and a gold medal at the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa, where he defeated Samoa’s Commonwealth Games champion Feagaiga Stowers, according to Reuters.

The 2019 victory brought controversy in its wake after Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi objected to Hubbard entering the competition as a woman.

He said Hubbard “should have never been allowed by the Pacific Games Council president to lift with the women,” according to the Samoa Observer. “I was shocked when I first heard.”

“No matter how we look at it, he’s a man and it’s shocking this was allowed in the first place,” he said.

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According to Reuters, Australia’s weightlifting federation tried to have Hubbard banned from competition for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, but failed in that attempt.

USA Weightlifting spokesman Kevin Farley sidestepped any controversy over Hubbard.

“We respect the rules established by the International Weightlifting Federation and the International Olympic Committee for qualification and will be focusing on assisting our athletes to compete against all those who are qualified for the Tokyo Games,” he said in a statement.

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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
Location
New York City
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Foreign Policy, Military & Defense Issues




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