After making history as the first openly transgender athlete to compete at an Olympic Games on Monday, Laurel Hubbard made an early exit from the women’s +87kg final after failing to complete a lift.
Hubbard, who was the oldest competitor in the weightlifting event in Tokyo at 43-years-old, was unable to complete any of her three lifts.
Although she cleared the bar above her head in the second round, which she celebrated with clenched fists, the attempt was ultimately declared a no lift.
According to the rules, athletes are automatically eliminated from the competition if they do not record at least one valid lift in each of the two parts.
China’s Li Wenwen ultimately scored the gold after lifting 140kg in the snatch and 180kg in the clean jerk, a record for both categories. The 21-year-old scored 320 points overall, which was just outside her world record of 335, but enough to defeat Great Britain’s Emily Campbell with 283 points.
Campbell, 27, also made history as the first British athlete to win an Olympic medal in women’s weightlifting.
Shortly after exiting the competition, Hubbard acknowledged how her participation in the Games has ignited a fierce debate about the inclusion of transgender women in female sports.
“And, as such, I’d particularly like to thank the IOC, for, I think, really affirming their commitment to the principals of Olympism, and establishing that sport is something for all people. It is inclusive. It is accessible,” said the New Zealander.
Hubbard also thanked the International Weightlifting Federation for showing that “weightlifting is an activity that’s open to all of the people in the world,” as well as Japan for hosting the Olympics during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I know that from a sporting perspective I haven’t really hit the standards that I put upon myself and perhaps the standards that my country expects of me,” she continued.
“But one of the things for which I am so profoundly grateful is I have supporters in New Zealand who have just given me so much love and encouragement.”
Although she didn’t walk away with a trophy at this year’s Games, Hubbard – who is ranked 15th in the world – has become a pioneer for the transgender community, who have never been represented at the Olympics until now.
On the same day as Hubbard’s defeat, Canadian footballer Quinn became the first transgender athlete to win an Olympic medal.
Canada triumphed over United States on Monday with a 1-0 victory, which means the country has secured at least a silver medal for football. Canada will now face Sweden in Friday’s match for the gold.
The Tokyo Olympics has been a game-changer for queer representation. More than 160 LGBTQ+ athletes are competing at this year’s Games, which is the most in Olympic history.