Laurel Hubbard: Tokyo Olympics press conference question met with cold response


Laurel Hubbard’s participation in the Tokyo Olympics has been among the most talked about things over the past few weeks and it seems like her colleagues aren’t completely pleased with it.

The New Zealander became the first openly transgender athlete to compete at the Olympics, doing so in the women’s +87 kg discipline in weightlifting.

Hubbard failed in all of her three attempts in the snatch, thus eliminating her from the clean and jerk discipline.

She tried to lift 120kg on her first try, followed by 125kg on the other two. However, she was unable to successfully lift any of them. 

Hubbard was the only one out of the 14 contestants who failed to lift in the competition.

Following the completion of the event, the three medalists spoke to reporters. When asked about how they felt with Hubbard competing, bronze medalist Sarah Robles replied after a long pause: “No thank you.”

As quoted by the Washington Post, silver medalist Emily Campbell said the exact same thing, while gold medalist Li Wenwen stated: “I have nothing to say, I just respect the rules.”

You can call their responses ‘cold’ or ‘stoic’ or whatever you want to, but it does imply that the trio weren’t very pleased with Hubbard’s participation.  

The 43-year-old who transitioned to female in 2012 has received plenty of criticism over competing in a women’s sport as a transgender athlete. Speaking out on this in 2017, she said: “All you can do is focus on the task at hand and if you keep doing that it will get you through.

“I’m mindful I won’t be supported by everyone but I hope that people can keep an open mind and perhaps look at my performance in a broader context.

“Perhaps the fact that it has taken so long for someone like myself to come through indicates that some of the problems that people are suggesting aren’t what they might seem.”


There will be several people who will find the idea of a transgender athlete competing in a women’s sport objectionable, but in the end, the fact that remains is that they were cleared to do so. 

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