Transgender Olympian Laurel Hubbard has officially retired from weightlifting
4 August 2021, 11:27 | Updated: 5 August 2021, 10:08
Laurel is the first openly transgender woman to compete in the Olympics.
Laurel Hubbard has officially retired from weightlifting following her historic performance at the Tokyo Olympics.
Laurel, who represented New Zealand, is the first openly transgender woman to compete in the Olympics after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) changed their qualifying guidelines to allow trans athletes to compete in women's events depending on their testosterone levels in 2015.
Although Laurel's participation was groundbreaking and she had been praised by trans activists, Laurel was sadly knocked out of the Women's +87kg, placing last, after failing to complete a successful snatch lift.
The 43-year-old has now announced she will no longer compete citing her age as a factor. "Age has caught up with me. In fact if we're being honest it probably caught up with me some time ago," she told reporters (via Fox Sports).
"My involvement in sport is probably due, if nothing else, to heroic amounts of anti-inflammatories, and it's probably time for me to start thinking about hanging up the boots and concentrating on other things in my life.
Laurel also thanked the IOC for adopting inclusive polices that would allow her to compete and showing "moral leadership". She continued: "I'm not sure that a role model is something I could ever aspire to be, instead I hope that just by being I can provide some sense of encouragement."
Laurel initially started weightlifting before she transitioned in the hope it would make her feel more masculine. She transitioned in 2012, returning to weightlifting as a trans woman in 2017. Laurel's participation sparked a worldwide conversation about trans athletes in the Olympics and the IOC are reportedly set to release new guidelines about it after the Tokyo Games.
The IOC initially only allowed transgender athletes to participate if they had undergone gender reassignment surgery. However, that rule was banished in 2015 and instead the requirement is dependant on lower testosterone levels.