Athletes Reject Awkward Question About Competing Against Transgender Weightlifter

by : Hannah Smith on : 05 Aug 2021 08:30
Athletes Reject Awkward Question About Competing Against Transgender Weightlifter@artofhunger75/Twitter/PA

Weightlifters competing against trans Olympian Laurel Hubbard have refused to be drawn into a controversy after being asked about their fellow competitor’s inclusion in the games.

In a post-competition press conference the three medallists in the women’s +87kg lifting event were asked how they felt about the fact that their sport had made history by being the first to feature a transgender athlete, and their response spoke a thousand words.

Laurel Hubbard competes in Olympics (PA Images)PA Images

‘There was a historic night here with Laurel Hubbard competing as the first openly transgender in an individual event. I was wondering what you felt about that and what you felt that it took place in your sport,’ a reporter asked the three women.

Rather than allow themselves to become part of a heated political debate, the athletes – representing China, Great Britain and the United States – sat in silence for a number of seconds, before gold medallist Sarah Robles of the US rejected the question, simply saying, ‘No, thank you.’

It was an uncomfortable moment, and while those opposed to Hubbard’s inclusion have seized on Robles comments as a sign of her agreement, many have since criticised the journalist for attempting to draw attention away from the success of the three medallists.


‘Why make a moment about [these] 3 women, a circumstance to talk about someone who is not even there?!?!!’ one person tweeted.

Hubbard exited in the early stages of the competition after failing to register a clean lift, after exiting the venue to applause she later thanked her supporters in New Zealand, telling journalists, ‘I know that my participation at these Games has not been entirely without controversy but they have been just so wonderful and I’m so grateful to them.’

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Hannah Smith

Hannah Smith is a London-based journalist at UNILAD. After studying History at UCL she worked for print publications on both sides of the pond, including spells at Harper's Magazine and The Times, before graduating with an MA in Newspaper Journalism from City, University of London.

Topics: Sport, Laurel Hubbard, Now, Olympics, Tokyo 2020, Weightlifting


The Independent
  1. The Independent

    Weightlifting medalists sit in silence after question about transgender athlete Laurel Hubbard