Olympic weightlifter Laurel Hubbard has been named “Sportswoman of the Year” by a university in New Zealand, where the trans athlete hails from.
This is the first time in the 113-year history of the award that it has been given to someone who was not biologically female.
Hubbard identifies as a woman and formerly competed in men’s weightlifting before transitioning in 2012 and moving over to women’s weightlifting when allowed to do so.
The weightlifter made headlines earlier this year after qualifying to compete in women’s weightlifting at the Tokyo Olympics by meeting the International Olympic Committee’s requirement for testosterone levels for the event.
“I see the Olympic Games as a global celebration of our hopes, ideals and values and I would like to thank the IOC for its commitment to making sport inclusive and accessible,” Hubbard said at the time.
Hubbard was disqualified early on in the games, but received accolades at home from Otago University, which named the unsuccessful Olympian as their “Sportswoman of the Year.”
“We could think of no-one more worthy of sportswoman of the year than Laurel Hubbard who represented Otago and New Zealand incredibly well at this year’s Tokyo Olympics,” Otago University Students’ Association president Michaela Waite-Harvey said, according to The Post Millennial.
“It is not possible,” Hubbard said, “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.”
Hubbard also expressed gratitude “for all of the support and kindness received from the teaching staff and students at Otago University.”
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