IOC Backs First Transgender Athlete’s Selection For Olympics
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has backed New Zealand’s selection of transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard for the Tokyo Olympics.
The weightlifter described herself as being ‘grateful and humbled’ to be chosen, though the decision was met with backlash from many people who argued her inclusion was ‘unfair’ to female athletes.
In spite of the controversy, the IOC confirmed today, July 17, that it stood by New Zealand’s decision, explaining that Hubbard is free to compete under current rules.
At a news conference cited by Reuters, IOC President Thomas Bach explained that the rules for qualification ‘have been established by the International Weightlifting Federation before the qualifications started’.
He continued: ‘These rules apply, and you cannot change rules during ongoing competitions.’
In 2015, the IOC ruled that transgender women can compete in the Olympics provided their testosterone levels are below 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months before their first competition.
The rules are set to be reviewed with all stakeholders involved, Bach explained, in order to set new guidelines in the future.
He said: ‘At the same time the IOC is in an inquiry phase with all different stakeholders… to review these rules and finally to come up with some guidelines which cannot be rules because this is a question where there is no one-size-fits-all solution. It differs from sport to sport.’
Bach did not say specifically whether he supported Hubbard’s inclusion in the upcoming Olympics, stressing instead that her selection was based on specific rules which ‘are in place’ and ‘have to be applied’.
He added: ‘This is what all the athletes of the world are relying on: that the rules are being applied.’
The 2021 Olympic Games are set to begin on Friday, July 23, with the Olympic opening ceremony.
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