Transgender Athlete Laurel Hubbard Breaks Silence | 22 Words

Laurel Hubbard became the first openly transgender athlete to compete at the Olympics on Monday night but sadly, she finished last in the women's weightlifting event.

However now, she's been voted sportswoman of the year.

Hubbard finished sixth at the last World Championships, so was considered to be at a high chance of winning a medal. However, all 3 of her attempts failed to meet expectations at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics this week.

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After bowing out of the +87KG weightlifting division, Hubbard thanked the Games organizers saying she "was not entirely unaware of the controversy surrounding my participation."

"I'd just particularly like to say thank you so much to the people of Japan for hosting the Olympics under such extraordinary circumstances," Hubbard told reporters.

"I think we sort of all know the sacrifices that have been made and the situation in Japan, and so to press on as the hosts have and deliver such an extraordinary event is so commendable. And so if I could just thank the Japanese people, the Japanese government for making this possible.

"I am not entirely unaware of the controversy which surrounds my participation at these Games. And as such, I would particularly like to thank the IOC for, I think, really affirming its commitment to the principles of Olympism and establishing that sport is something for all people, it is inclusive, accessible.

"Similarly I would like to thank the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF). They have been extraordinarily supportive. I think that they, too, have shown that weightlifting is an activity that's open to all the people of the world."

During Hubbard's first attempt at the 120KG, she let the bar drop behind her in the squat after a seemingly shaky start. She was 12KG below her best.

However, she tried to turn it back around during the 125KG lift. Hubbard stood up and raised the bar above her head. However, the judges still gave her 2 red lights meaning it was all on her last lift.

Sadly, on her third attempt, the bar once again slipped behind her head as she tried to lift the weight.

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When she was asked about her performance, Hubbard said she was "overwhelmed" by the big stage.

According to New On News, she told Sky Sport: "If anything I think I was just overwhelmed by the excitement of being on the Olympic platform. It's such a truly special place, not just for weightlifters. I think for any Olympic athlete, competing at this level just unlocks a certain amount of adrenaline and I think I might have just over-cooked it slightly tonight.

"I'm so grateful. That injury that I had back in 2018 [during the Commonwealth Games] was so traumatic that I never thought I would compete again and, consequently, everything that's happened since then has just been a bonus and I think that's why it's hard for me to be too disappointed tonight.

"Because it's something I never expected would be possible. I'm not sure it's possible for any person to really block out everything that's happening in the world, but you just do what you can and get on with it."

Hubbard told The Age later on: "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.

"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."

But the latest news is that Hubbard has been voted sportswoman of the year by New Zealand's University of Otago making her the first transwoman in history.

She said in a statement that she was "grateful for all of the support and kindness received from the teaching staff and students at Otago University".

She added:

It is not possible for athletes to complete at the Olympic level without the encouragement and aroha of friends, family and supporters.
This award belongs to everyone who has been part of my Olympic journey.