New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard bowed out of Olympics competition early after failing to record a lift in the snatch event on Monday.
Hubbard said Tuesday she was just “grateful” to have an opportunity to compete.
“All I’ve ever wanted to be is myself,” she told reporters. “I’m just so grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to come here and be me.”
Not everybody has been thrilled to see Hubbard after she transitioned eight years ago at the age of 35 and became the first transgender Olympian.
Team GB swimmer James Guy is being condemned this week over a “transphobic” tweet questioning the fairness of Laurel Hubbard’s inclusion at the Olympics. Guy, who won two golds and a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics, drew criticism for writing, “How’s that fair, put me in the women’s 100 fly then.”
The post recently went viral again, even though he posted it back on June 22nd.
Here’s how social media responded:
Hubbard said the prospect of competing on the world stage was what drew her to Tokyo.
“What drives me in sport, I think, is the sport itself,” she said. “And this is the pinnacle event for weightlifting, as it is for so many sports. And I suppose that’s what’s drawn me here, because anyone I think can train in their own time, but to actually be called to account on the platform. We’ve got one minute to make it all happen. That’s the real test for, I suppose, anyone and weightlifting.”
Despite all of the negativity surrounding her, Hubbard chose not to dwell on the negativity.
“I tried not to dwell on, I suppose, negative coverage or negative perception, because it makes a hard job even harder. It’s hard enough lifting a barbell but if you’re putting more weight on it, it just makes it an impossible task, really. One thing I will say though is that I think often, a lot of negative coverage and negative perception is not really based on any sort of evidence or principle but rather it’s based on emotion that people are often reacting, out of fear or discomfort. I hope that in time, they will open themselves up to a broader perspective,” she said.