We've been waiting way more than six years for this.

Olivia Harvey
Jun 22, 2021 @ 11:22 am
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Laurel Hubbard
Credit: Dan Mullan, Getty Images

Laurel Hubbard, a weightlifter from New Zealand, will become the first transgender athlete to compete at the Olympic Games and is slated to compete in the women's super-heavyweight 87-kg category.

Hubbard will also be the oldest lifter at the Tokyo Olympics. The 43-year-old previously competed in men's heavyweight lifting championships until she transitioned in 2013.

"I am grateful and humbled by the kindness and support that has been given to me by so many New Zealanders," Hubbard said in a statement released by the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) on June 21st, per NBC News.

According to TransAthlete.com, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) agreed in 2015 that athletes who have transitioned from female to male are eligible to compete in any male category without restriction. But those athletes who have transitioned from male to female may compete in female categories if they have declared their gender identity as female for four years prior and demonstrate that their testosterone level is below 10 nmol/L for at least 12 months prior to their first competition as well as throughout the Olympic eligibility period.

Though the rules have been in place for six years, Hubbard is the first trans athlete to qualify for the Games and met the IOC and the International Weightlifting Federation's selection criteria.

"We acknowledge that gender identity in sport is a highly sensitive and complex issue requiring a balance between human rights and fairness on the field of play," New Zealand Olympic Committee CEO Kereyn Smith said in a statement, per NBC. "As the New Zealand Team, we have a strong culture of ... inclusion and respect for all."

Of course, since transitioning, Hubbard has faced backlash from fellow female weightlifters and weightlifting organizations, who argue that she has an unfair advantage over her competition having been born "biologically male." But her attitude hasn't swayed, and both the New Zealand government and the IOC fully support her competing in Tokyo. As do we!