Sports scientist questions the fairness of Laurel Hubbard at Olympic Games

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 2 Aug 2021, 12:53PM
Laurel Hubbard competing at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. (Photo / Getty)
Laurel Hubbard competing at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. (Photo / Getty)

Sports scientist questions the fairness of Laurel Hubbard at Olympic Games

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 2 Aug 2021, 12:53PM

A world-renowned sports scientist has entered the debate about Laurel Hubbard's participation in the Olympics, saying you can have inclusivity and fairness in women's sport, but you can't have both.

Hubbard will make history when she competes tonight in the women's +87kg weightlifting class, becoming the first openly transgender athlete to compete in an Olympic Games.

Sports scientist Dr Ross Tucker, of South Africa, told Newstalk ZB's Elliot Smith on the DRS that society is moving towards people's choices more than in the past, but when it is applied to sport it creates a collision of rights.

"This is sport's unsolvable issue. There is no solution that satisfies both sides of the polarised debate. The moment you have that there is no compromise to be found," said Tucker, host of the award-winning Science of Sport Podcast.

Tucker said the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had come in with good intentions to allow for inclusivity, but they have done so at the expense of fairness.

He said he was aware of 13 published studies that looked at people who have suppressed their testosterone, which takes away between 1 and 10 per cent of advantage.

"That means there will be some residual advantage left behind ... there is no advantage at all to suggest that taking testosterone away at the end of the process undoes the process.

"The sports authorities thought they had found the fix. They wanted to be inclusive. They thought we will take the testosterone away and take the advantage away. Unfortunately, that doesn't happen," Tucker said.

Hubbard has broken her silence and this weekend made her first statement since the announcement of her selection to the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Often the subject of controversy, Hubbard has kept quiet over the matter, and kept her first public statement brief.

"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," she said.

IOC medical director Richard Budgett earlier praised Hubbard's bravery and stated that "trans women are women".

"Laurel Hubbard is a woman, is competing under the rules of her federation and we have to pay tribute to her courage and tenacity in actually competing and qualifying for the Games."

Many predictions place Hubbard in the medal positions for Tokyo, which would be New Zealand's first-ever Olympic weightlifting medal.

Hubbard competed in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018 but had to withdraw from the competition with an elbow injury.