New Zealand’s Laurel Hubbard to Become First Transgender Olympian

Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “New Zealand’s Laurel Hubbard to Become First Transgender Olympian” – below is their description.

Transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard has thanked the International Olympic Committee for helping to make it possible for her to compete at the Tokyo Games.

“She’s getting ready”, the Secretary General of the New Zealand Olympic Committee, Kereyn Smith, said Friday. “She well understands the size of the stage and is very grateful to be able to compete in this environment.”

In comments provided by the New Zealand Olympic Committee, Hubbard said “the Olympic Games are a global celebration of our hopes, our ideals and our values. I commend the IOC for its commitment to making sport inclusive and accessible.”

Hubbard has been a focus for support and criticism since qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics.

She is a medal contender in the women’s over-87-kilogram weightlifting category on Monday.

Kereyn Smith said that the question of transitioning athletes remains complex and controversial, and that the New Zealand Olympic Committee felt responsible for making sure that the athlete is treated with respect and able to prepare and perform in a safe environment to the best of her ability.

“On a day where we’re talking about mental health a lot, I think we have to be mindful that (…) Laurel Hubbard is a person. And she has feelings and she is eligible to do what she’s doing here on the Olympic stage, and we wish all the very best,” Smith said.

“The IWF understands that people are looking at Laurel Hubbard’s participation on Monday and using her as something of a lightning rod for a wider social debate,” the spokesperson of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), Mark Cooper, said.

“Laurel Hubbard, by virtue of her athletic performance during the Olympic qualifying period and by virtue of having respected the rules regarding the participation of transgender athletes, has absolutely earned her right to be here in Tokyo and so then deserves the full support of the IWF, as does every other weightlifter,” Cooper added.

The IOC drew to scientific consensus statements, one in 2003, and one in 2015, with recommendations for including transgender athletes, to help international federations put in place their own regulations.

Many sports bodies including the International Weightlifting Federation have enacted similar policies.

The IOC is expected to be delivering a new framework as medical and social science is evolving.

“The IOC have realised that we can’t put in place a single rule and regulation regarding transgender, inclusivity and eligibility because it’s going to be different in different sports”, IOC medical and scientific director Richard Budgett said.

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