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What records did Laurel Hubbard break? Athlete becomes first transgender Olympian

Leigh McManus June 21, 2021
What records did Laurel Hubbard break? Athlete becomes first transgender Olympian
Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Laurel Hubbard has become the first transgender athlete named in an Olympic team after her country, New Zealand, picked her to represent the nation in weightlifting. So, let’s explore her records in the sport.

Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Who is Laurel Hubbard?

Firstly, lets explore who Laurel Hubbard is. She is a 43-year-old weightlifter from Auckland, New Zealand. Laurel was assigned male at birth, transitioning in 2012 at the age of 35.

The Kiwi previously competed at national level as Gavin Hubbard, according to The New Zealand Herald.

She is the child of Dick Hubbard, a former mayor of Auckland City and the founder of Hubbard Foods. According to The Independent, the entrepreneur has made himself a household name in New Zealand and has an “international reputation as a highly unconventional capitalist who works shifts on his own factory floor.”

Hubbard is set to become the first trans athlete at the Olympics

The athlete qualified to represent New Zealand at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics via international rankings at the end of May.

No openly transgender athlete has ever competed at an Olympics, according to Olympic historians, via NBC.

According to the International Weightlifting Federation’s transgender guidelines, athletes who transition from male to female are eligible for the Olympics if their total testosterone level in serum has been below ten nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months.

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Hubbard came back from rupturing an elbow ligament in April 2018, an injury she believed would be career-ending, to be named in the squad.

“I am grateful and humbled by the kindness and support that has been given to me by so many New Zealanders,” Hubbard said in a statement.

“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 18 months has shown us all that there is strength in kinship, in community, and in working together towards a common purpose.”

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What records did Laurel Hubbard break? Has she set a world record?

Hubbard set various junior records before transitioning. In 1998, she set New Zealand junior records in the newly established M105+ division with snatch 135kg, clean & jerk 170kg, total 300kg.

These records were later surpassed by David Liti in 2018. Ironically, Tokyo 2020 will also be Liti’s first Olympics.

Hubbard competes in the Women’s +90kg Final at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games

Hubbard scooped gold at the 2017 Australian International & Australian Open in Melbourne, becoming the first trans woman to win an international weightlifting title for New Zealand.

Hubbard would also break the record for oldest female Olympic weightlifter by more than four years, according to Olympedia.org, via NBC.

She also broke records after winning twice in 2017’s IWF World Weightlifting Championships.

At the Australian Open qualifiers last March, in Canberra, she set her personal best of 133kg, bettering her Oceania record.

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Leigh is a 26-year-old journalist from the north of Ireland. He studied International Journalism at Liverpool John Moores University, where he earned a 2:1 grade. He has worked for Mail Online and has experience with the Liverpool Echo, Irish Mirror and SWNS. Leigh is also a huge music fan and has his own show on a community radio station.