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The decision to allow Laurel Hubbard to compete in the upcoming Olympic games has drawn much backlash from athletes and commentators.
Breitbart reported Hubbard was among five weightlifters confirmed Monday as a member of New Zealand’s team for Tokyo. At 43, she will also be the oldest weightlifter at the games, and will be ranked fourth in the Aug. 2 competition for women 87 kilograms (192 pounds) and over.
“I am grateful and humbled by the kindness and support that has been given to me by so many New Zealanders,” Hubbard, a biological male, said in a statement from Olympic News. “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 of the silver fern comes from all of you and I will wear it with pride.”
This decision has drawn backlash from groups such as Save Women’s Sports, Conservative Commentator Todd Starnes, and other female athletes.
“So basically, a dude who thinks he’s a woman beat a bunch of biological women at a power lifting competition,” said national radio host Todd Starnes.
According to Reuters, female athletes were told to “be quiet” on the matter of the transgender athlete competing.
“I’m quite disappointed, quite disappointed for the female athlete who will lose out on that spot,” Lambrechs, who won a bronze medal for New Zealand at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, told 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?’” she continued. “Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do because every time we voice it we get told to be quiet.”
A non-partisan group defending Title IX , Save Women’s Sports, called the International Olympic Committee’s decision to allow Hubbard to compete a “flawed policy.”
“It is flawed policy from the IOC that has allowed the selection of a 43-year-old biological male who identifies as a woman to compete in the female category,” the coalition wrote.
The IOC justified its decision by requiring trans athletes to maintain a certain testosterone level for 12 months before competition. According to the IOC, Hubbard apparently met the requirement.
Meanwhile, the policy statement of the IOC declares: “The overriding sporting objective is and remains the guarantee of fair competition.”