Olympian Laurel Hubbard, who made history as the first openly trans athlete to compete in a solo event, plans to “hang up her boots”.
The 43-year-old weightlifter competed in the 87kg+ category for New Zealand but crashed out when she failed to complete a single lift.
Speaking at a press conference, she said that “age has caught up with me” and that she required “heroic amounts of anti-inflammatories” to compete.
“It’s probably time for me to start thinking about hanging up the boots and concentrating on other things in my life,” she explained.
Speaking about her participation in the games, she said: “A conversation needs to be had because although we have rules at the moment, they will no doubt change and evolve as more is known about transgender athletes and what means for participation in sport.
“But what I will say is I’m extraordinarily grateful to the IOC for having the courage, the moral leadership to sort of consider sport as being as an activity which should be open to all people.”
Laurel Hubbard 🏋️♀️ and Quinn ⚽ are the first openly trans athletes to compete in the @Olympics.
🤔 But why did it take until #Tokyo2020 to get to this point?
🧵Here's what you should know about trans representation in sport. 👇 pic.twitter.com/Y7jCh55ER4
— Openly 🏳️🌈 (@Openly) August 2, 2021
“I’m not sure that a role model is something that I could ever aspire to be, instead I hope that just by being here I can provide some sense of encouragement.
“And I just hope that if people are undergoing any difficulty or struggle within their lives, not necessarily related to sport but to anything really, that they can perhaps see that there are opportunities in the world.”
“There are opportunities to live authentically and as we are.”
Transgender athletes have been allowed to compete at the Olympics since 2004, but this year’s games in Tokyo are the first to see it happen openly.
laurel hubbard is dignified and courageous. her coward critics are not
— Morgan Godfery (@MorganGodfery) August 3, 2021
Hubbard joins Canadian footballer Quinn, who uses they/them pronouns, Chelsea Wolfe, who is a reserve on the US women’s BMX freestyle team and uses she/her pronouns, and American skateboarder Alana Smith, who also uses they/them pronouns.
In 2015, the IOC updated its rules to allow transgender women to compete without removing their testes.
But their testosterone level in serum must be below 10 nanomoles for a minimum of 12 months.
Do the transphobes celebrating Laurel Hubbard going out of the weightlifting at the first stage not realise this totally demolishes their 'unfair advantage' argument…?
— Jack Duncan🔻 (@JackDunc1) August 2, 2021
Hubbard went on to say that she was never looking for attention when she decided to compete as a trans athlete and that all she ever wanted was to be her true self.
She added: “All I’ve ever wanted to be is myself.
“I’m just so grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to come here and be me.
“These type of situations are always quite difficult for me because, as some of you may know, I have never really been involved with sport because I’m looking for publicity, profile or exposure.
⚽️ Congratulations to Canadian football player @thequinny5 who will become the first openly trans athlete to win an Olympic medal. 👏@CanadaSoccerEN have secured a place in the Women's Football finals on Friday and will play Sweden 🇸🇪.
— Openly 🏳️🌈 (@Openly) August 2, 2021
“And while I recognize that my involvement in sport is a topic of considerable interest to some, in some ways I’m looking forward to this being the end of my journey of as an athlete and the attention that comes from it.”
Hubbard previously competed as a male weightlifter before transitioning in 2012.
She returned to the sport in 2017, winning silver at the International Weightlifting Federation Weightlifting World Championships in Anaheim, California.
In 2019, she went on to win gold at the Pacific Games in Apia, Samoa.
We are proud of you, Laurel! Best of luck for the future.