His comments sparked his own backlash.
We are all in favor of women’s equality in sports, but now this equality has been taken from us.” Lambrechs told TVNZ. Weight lifters come to me and say what can we do. It’s not fair, what can we do? And unfortunately there is nothing we can do because every time we try to voice it, we are told to be quiet.”
At the weightlifting competition in Tokyo, athletes largely avoided discussing the significance of Hubbard’s presence at the Games. Sabine Kusterer, a German woman competing in the 59-pound event several classes below Hubbard, expressed mixed feelings. “He was upset,” he said, adding that there was too much focus on Hubbard’s identity rather than how much he could handle.
But Kusterer also said the rules were unfair. She wondered if the organizers could create another category for trans women, adding that Hubbard was outlier not just because of her transition, but because of her age.
Hubbard stopped lifting weights in his 20s because, he told an interviewer, “it became too much to carry” as he struggled to deal with his identity. He continued competing five years after making the switch in 2012. When she won three championships in 2017, her performances triggered a firestorm on social media.
Hubbard isn’t the only athlete at the Tokyo Games whose identity doesn’t quite fit into longstanding gender categories. quinn, a midfielder on the Canadian women’s soccer team using only one name, non-binary and always competed with women. Chelsea Wolfe, a transgender woman, an alternate on the American BMX team.
For years, the most controversial issues regarding gender and gender were about women, not transgender athletes’ right to compete. Caster Semenya, a South African runner who is a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the 800 meters and has naturally high testosterone levels compared to most women.