Laurel Hubbard is the first Transgender woman to compete at the Olympics but who is she?

Laurel Hubbard is the Olympic weightlifter that everyone is talking about

Laurel Hubbard
(Image credit: Chris Graythen / Staff/ Getty Images)

Laurel Hubbard is the first Transgender woman to compete in the Olympic Games—here is everything you need to know about the New Zealand star. 

Laurel Hubbard is the first openly transgender woman athlete to be allowed to compete in the Olympic Games. Her inclusion in the games has launched a discussion about diversity in the Olympics.

Laurel was born a man but transitioned at the age of 35. Before she competed as a female athlete, Laurel did compete in men’s weightlifting events. Critics suggest that she has an unfair advantage and therefore she should not be included in the events.

As she begins competing in the Olympics, many eyes are on this athlete who is making history. So who is Laurel Hubbard and what should we know about her?

Laurel Hubbard

(Image credit: Hannah Peters / Staff / Getty Images)


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Why is Laurel Hubbard allowed to compete in the Olympics?

As the first transgender athlete to compete in the Olympics, Laurel’s inclusion in the games is because of a recent change in the Olympic rules.

In 2015, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said that transgender athletes will be allowed to compete in the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

Transgender women are now allowed to compete in the women's competition if their testosterone levels are below a certain level. 

Laurel Hubbard's testosterone threshold was below the lowest requirement and subsequently, she was allowed to participate.

What are people saying about Laurel's inclusion in the games?

Fellow weightlifting athletes have been vocal about Laurel's inclusion. Tracey Lambrechs, a weightlifter from New Zealand said that Laurel's inclusion was 'heart-breaking' and unfair to other athletes.

Tracey said to TVNZ, "We're all about equality for women in sport but right now that equality is being taken away from us.

"I've had female weightlifters come up to me and say, 'what do we do? This isn’t fair, what do we do?'. Unfortunately, there's nothing we can do because every time we voice it we get told to be quiet."

Not all athletes share the same opinion. Emily Campbell, a British weightlifter who is also competing in the Olympics spoke out in support of Laurel.

"I believe everyone should be able to do something they love and she qualified in her own right like the rest of us girls. Everyone has been very opinionated about it but I think everyone is kind of forgetting about her feelings," she said.

Laurel Hubbard

(Image credit: Dan Mullan / Staff / Getty Images)

Where is Laurel Hubbard from?

The athlete was born in Auckland, New Zealand. She set various records in her youth for weightlifting in junior competitions in New Zealand.

She is the daughter of Dick Hubbard, who is the former Mayor of Auckland. Her father was also the founder of Hubbard Foods, a New Zealand breakfast cereal manufacturer.

The athlete has the support of her country behind her too. Jacinta Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, supported Laurel's inclusion in the Olympic Games. "I have so much respect for her. I just wish her well," she said.

When will Laurel Hubbard be competing in the Olympics?

Laurel competed in one event at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. She participated in the Women's +87kg weightlifting event on Monday 2nd August 2021. 

After three failed attempts, Laurel was branded 'DNF' (Did not Finish) and did not place in the competition.

Wenwen Li from China won Gold in this competition, Emily Jade Campbell from Britain won Silver, and Sarah Elizabeth Robles from the USA won the Bronze medal. 

Laurel is not expected to participate in any other competitions at the Olympic Games. 

The Tokyo Olympics 2020 will conclude on Sunday 8th August 2021.

Laura Harman

Laura is a news writer for woman&home who primarily covers entertainment and celebrity news. Laura dabbles in lifestyle, royal, beauty, and fashion news, and loves to cover anything and everything to do with television and film. She is also passionate about feminism and equality and loves writing about gender issues and feminist literature.

Laura loves drinking and eating and can often be found trying to get reservations at London's trendiest restaurants. When she's not wining and dining, Laura can also be found travelling, baking, and hiking with her dog.