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Transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard retires after Olympic debut

Transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard retires after Olympic debut

New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, who made Tokyo 2020 history on Monday by becoming the first openly transgender Olympian, announced her retirement from the sport on Wednesday.

The 43-year-old Hubbard competed in the 87+ kilogram weightlifting category at the Tokyo 2020 Games on Monday.

Although her presence on the sport’s biggest stage was short-lived, not being able to successfully complete any uprisings, transgender activists saw it as a historic occasion for a typically marginalized community.

At the same time, Hubbard’s Olympic debut opened an intense debate around the participation of transsexual athletes in women’s categories.

Hubbard, very reserved, announced that she is ready to move away from the spotlight.

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Age has caught up with me. In fact, to be honest, it probably caught up with me a long time ago, “said Hubbard, two decades older than most of his rivals.

“My involvement in sport is probably, if not something else, heroic amounts of anti-inflammatories. It’s probably time to start thinking about hanging up my boots and focusing on other things in my life, “he said.

Hubbard praised the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for showing “moral leadership” in adopting policies of inclusion that allowed it to debut at the Games.

I’m not sure I can aspire to be a role model. Instead, I hope that by the mere fact of being, it can give some sense of encouragement, “the New Zealander told reporters.

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Critics of the IOC decision argue that athletes like Hubbard, who was born male and began his gender reassignment process after age 30, have advantages linked to their training as male athletes.

These benefits would include increased muscle mass and lung capacity, leading to fears that other female athletes will be forced to compete on an uneven playing field.

The IOC, under guidelines passed in 2003, only allowed the participation of transgender athletes who had undergone gender reassignment surgery, but in 2015 it removed this requirement and focused on controlling testosterone levels.

The body plans to publish new guidelines on this issue after the Tokyo Games are over.

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Hubbard expressed his support for these debates, which his Olympic participation brought back to the fore.

“I’m sure a conversation is necessary,” she said. “While we have standards for now, they will certainly change and evolve as more is known about transgender athletes and what that means for participation in sport.” (AFP)

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