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Transgender Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard Announces Plans To Retire After Olympics Appearance

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Transgender Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard Announces Plans To Retire After Olympics Appearance

Laurel Hubbard has announced plans to retire from weightlifting following her historic performance at the Tokyo Olympics.

The Kiwi became the first transgender athlete to compete in a different gender category to that which they were born, but she was unable to make a snatch and subsequently knocked out of the competition.

Now, the 43-year-old is planning on calling it a day.

The 43-year-old reckons enough is enough. Credit: PA
The 43-year-old reckons enough is enough. Credit: PA
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She said: "Age has caught up with me. In fact if we're being honest it probably caught up with me some time ago.

"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.

"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."

Her inclusion in the event came after the IOC made amendments to its qualifying guidelines in 2015, allowing trans athletes to compete in women's events depending on their testosterone levels.

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Hubbard competed as a male weightlifter before transitioning in 2012 and returning to the sport in 2017.

Prior to the competition, the South Islander applauded the IOC for allowing her to make history.

She said: "The Olympic Games are a global celebration of our hopes, our ideals and our values.

"I commend the IOC for its commitment to making sport inclusive and accessible."

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Following her selection for the games, Hubbard said she was 'grateful and humbled by the kindness and support that has been given to me by so many New Zealanders'.

Hubbard's inclusion in the event has prompted much debate. Credit: PA
Hubbard's inclusion in the event has prompted much debate. Credit: PA

She continued: "When I broke my arm at the Commonwealth Games three years ago, I was advised that my sporting career had likely reached its end. But your support, your encouragement, and your aroha [love] carried me through the darkness.

"The last eighteen months has shown us all that there is strength in kinship, in community, and in working together towards a common purpose. The mana [power/honour] of the silver fern comes from all of you and I will wear it with pride."

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Hubbard was ranked 15th in the world and became the third oldest lifter in Olympic history.

Addressing the controversy surrounding her inclusion before the competition, Joanna Harper - an IOC advisor from Loughborough University - told Sky News: "Yes, Laurel has advantages - but within this group of 14 women that she is competing against, Laurel is probably somewhere in the middle of the pack.

"She could theoretically finish anywhere from third to 14th - and isn't that sort of the definition of fair competition that a lot of things could potentially happen?"

Featured Image Credit: PA

Jake Massey
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