Laurel Hubbard Could Become First Biological Male To Compete In A Women’s Sport At Tokyo Olympics

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New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard could be the first biological male to compete in a women’s sport at the Olympics.

A rule change, approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), would automatically qualify Hubbard for the New Zealand women’s weightlifting team at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, the Guardian reported Wednesday. The rules were apparently changed after multiple competitions had to be canceled over coronavirus, according to the outlet. Hubbard would compete with the team in the women’s super heavyweight category, the Guardian noted. (RELATED: Transgender Athlete Says There’s No Difference Between Him And The Women He Beat)

Hubbard won two silvers in the women’s World Weightlifting Championships back in 2017 and placed sixth in 2019 after suffering an injury during the competition, the Guardian reported. Hubbard also took home two gold medals and a silver medal at the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa.

Hubbard previously said there was not “any fundamental difference” between transgender female athletes and female athletes.

“I don’t believe there is any fundamental difference between me and the other athletes, and to suggest there is is slightly demeaning to them,” Hubbard said at the time, according to Newshub. “I think it’s incredibly disrespectful to the other competitors.”

IOC began to allow biological men transitioning to women to participate in the Olympic games if their testosterone levels are kept below 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months back in 2015, according to The Guardian.

Meanwhile, a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine claimed biological men transitioning to women still maintain an advantage a year after beginning hormone therapy.

“At one year, the trans women on average still have an advantage over the cis women,” the study’s lead author Dr. Timothy Roberts said. “For the Olympic level, the elite level, I’d say probably two years is more realistic.”