Is This Fair? Born A Man, Now A Member Of The New Zealand Women’s Olympic Weightlifting Team.

FILE - In this April 9, 2018 file photo, New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard lifts in the snatch of the women's +90kg weightlifting final at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia. Hubbard will be the first transgender athlete to compete at the Olympics. Hubbard is among five athletes confirmed on New Zealand's weightlifting team for the Tokyo Games. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein,File)

In an Olympian-sized development, a transgender athlete has been selected to compete as part of the New Zealand women’s weightlifting team for the Tokyo Olympics beginning next month.

Laurel Hubbard, 43, will be the first transgender competitor to participate in Olympic history.

“I am grateful and humbled by the kindness and support that has been given to me by so many New Zealanders,” Laurel Hubbard, 43, said in a statement. 

A BBC story included Hubbard’s specifics fit the rules, that in 2015, the International Olympic Committee began allowing transgender athletes to seek qualification as long as their testosterone level is below a certain level and maintained for a year.  

Hubbard was born male and transitioned to female in her 30s.

This subject continues to be a lightning rod for controversy.

First, the testosterone level (10 nanomoles per liter of testosterone), according to the BBC report, is roughly five times more than a biological woman.

Hubbard, who lifted 628 pounds in two lifts to qualify for Tokyo, is seen by some to clearly have an unfair advantage.

New Zealand Olympic Committee CEO Kereyn Smith said Hubbard has the IOC benchmarks for competition in Tokyo.

“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,” Smith said. 

“As the New Zealand Team, we have a strong culture of manaaki (hospitality) and inclusion and respect for all.”

Belgium’s Anna Vanbellinghen, among Hubbard’s likely fellow competitors, said Hubbard’s presence would be “like a bad joke” for women competitors.

“Life-changing opportunities are missed for some athletes — medals and Olympic qualifications — and we are powerless.”

The Games begin July 23 and run through Aug. 8.

Join the conversation!

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. If a comment is spam, instead of replying to it please hover over that comment, click the ∨ icon, and mark it as spam. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.