Transgender weightlifter's historic golden bid derailed by injury

It was a despondent ending to an afternoon which had promised historic gold.Transgender weightlifter Laurel Hu...

Posted: Apr 9, 2018 1:24 PM
Updated: Apr 9, 2018 1:24 PM

It was a despondent ending to an afternoon which had promised historic gold.

Transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard departed the Carrara Sports Arena with a heavily bandaged elbow, ligaments likely ruptured, and hopes of becoming the first transgender athlete to win Commonwealth gold ruined.

Hubbard is the first transgender athlete to compete at Commonwealth Games

New Zealander was favorite for gold

Her presence has been the cause of much debate

After much discourse and calls for her to be banned, Hubbard stepped onto the dice Monday as favorite for gold in the women's 90kg-plus category.

Having shunned the pre-competition spotlight -- the New Zealander arrived on the Gold Coast later than the rest of her teammates -- the focus was very much on the 40-year-old who has split opinion in recent months.

She leaves the Gold Coast without a medal, but has still made her mark by becoming the first transgender athlete to compete at the Commonwealth Games.

"Crying my eyes out watch Laurel Hubbard, I wish I could share some of this pressure with her," tweeted dual-international athlete and transgender activist Kirsti Miller.

"To many of us have been hurt by sport please Australia make me proud stand up for this brave woman."

READ: Netball idol defies cultural norms

READ: 'Fittest woman on earth' wins gold

No regrets in attempting record lift

Hubbard started the competition promisingly.

Her first attempt of 120kg in the snatch was good enough for first place, but in attempting to break the Games record with a failed 132kg lift the Kiwi damaged her elbow to such an extent that she was unable to compete in the second half of the competition, the clean and jerk.

"The one saving grace in all of this is I'm not in any great pain at the moment. I'm sure that will come with time," Hubbard told reporters, adding that she had "no regrets" about the record-breaking attempt.

"At this stage we don't know the exact details of the injury.

"It seems likely that I have ruptured a ligament, some insignificant tissue damage. But until we have further scanning we won't know the details."

'A woman is a woman'

After undergoing 12 months of hormone therapy and recording low levels of testosterone, Hubbard -- who lived as Gavin Hubbard until 2014 -- was cleared to compete as a woman by the International Olympic Committee last year.

There had been much debate over whether the two-time world silver medalist should have been allowed to participate, with critics claiming an athlete who had previously represented her country as a man had an unfair advantage.

Only last month Australian Weightlifting Federation chief executive Michael Keelan protested against the New Zealander's right to compete, while Samoa's head coach Jerry Wallwork has also voiced his opposition.

"A man is a man and a woman is a woman and I know a lot of changes have gone through, but in the past Laurel Hubbard used to be a male champion weightlifter," he told reporters before the competition began Monday.

"The strength is still there and I think it's very unfair, and for all females it's unfair."

Standing at 185 cm and weighing 130kg, Hubbard was the tallest and heaviest athlete in the field. She was also the overwhelming favorite.

While some of her fellow weightlifters have declined to comment during the Games, England's Emily Campbell --who competed against Hubbard in the 90kg+ category -- was supportive of her rival.

"She just wants to lift. That's all she wants to do, come out and lift, have a good time and enjoy doing what we love to do," the English weightlifter told reporters after winning bronze.

"People shouldn't be making comments and making her feel horrible for doing something she loves to do.

"She's human, like the rest of us. It doesn't always go right, doesn't always go to plan.

"I just hope they're mindful of how she feels. She's a person."

'The crowd were magnificent'

Described as an "introverted character" by New Zealand's weightlifting high performance director Simon Kent, Hubbard admitted she had worried about the crowd's reaction prior to competition.

While the spectators naturally reserved their loudest cheers for home favorite Deb Lovely-Acason, Hubbard's first appearance on the stage was warmly applauded.

"The crowd was absolutely magnificent," said Hubbard. "It felt just like a big embrace.

"I wanted to give them something that was the best I could do. My only real regret was that I was unable to show that.

"Look, it would be untrue to say that the thought never crossed my mind. But there's no indication at all that they were anything other than absolutely fantastic.

"A real credit to the Australian people and also the broader sporting community."

Just months after Adam Rippon became the first openly gay American man to win a medal at the Winter Olympics and snowboarder Gus Kenworthy shared a kiss with his boyfriend live on national television in Pyeongchang, gold for Hubbard would have been another momentous moment for the LGBT community at a major international sporting event.

While Hubbard's afternoon did not go to script, history was still made and discussions will continue.

"I think you have to be true to yourself and I hope in this case that's what I've done," Hubbard added.

Samoa's Feagaiga Stowers won the gold medal, with Charisma Amoe-Tarrant of Nauru taking silver.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 319704

Reported Deaths: 7369
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22276267
Hinds20677421
Harrison18407317
Rankin13880282
Jackson13689248
Madison10249224
Lee10056176
Jones8464167
Forrest7827153
Lauderdale7260242
Lowndes6509150
Lamar634888
Lafayette6310121
Washington5420137
Bolivar4837133
Panola4669110
Oktibbeha466098
Pearl River4604147
Marshall4573105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425373
Union415777
Monroe4155135
Neshoba4061179
Lincoln4008112
Hancock386687
Leflore3515125
Tate342486
Sunflower339491
Pike3369111
Alcorn325972
Scott320174
Yazoo314171
Adams307486
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma298784
Simpson298189
Tippah291968
Prentiss283861
Leake271974
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264442
Grenada264087
George252051
Newton248663
Tishomingo231568
Winston229981
Jasper222148
Attala215073
Chickasaw210559
Holmes190374
Clay187854
Stone187833
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174132
Yalobusha167840
Smith164034
Walthall135347
Greene131833
Lawrence131024
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127138
Amite126342
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108033
Tunica108027
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96629
Franklin85023
Quitman82216
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69532
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 548323

Reported Deaths: 11288
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson809531565
Mobile42066826
Madison35663525
Tuscaloosa26162458
Shelby25595254
Montgomery25081612
Baldwin21839313
Lee16265176
Calhoun14718325
Morgan14626285
Etowah14171363
Marshall12449230
Houston10764288
Elmore10295213
Limestone10182157
St. Clair10160251
Cullman9941201
Lauderdale9596249
DeKalb8967189
Talladega8458184
Walker7335280
Autauga7230113
Blount6944139
Jackson6922113
Colbert6414140
Coffee5627127
Dale4929114
Russell454941
Chilton4472116
Franklin431083
Covington4273122
Tallapoosa4136155
Escambia401780
Chambers3726124
Dallas3607156
Clarke352961
Marion3242106
Pike314078
Lawrence3129100
Winston283572
Bibb268464
Geneva257581
Marengo250665
Pickens236862
Barbour234659
Hale226878
Butler224071
Fayette218162
Henry193843
Cherokee187245
Randolph187044
Monroe179341
Washington170439
Macon162951
Clay160159
Crenshaw155657
Cleburne153244
Lamar146537
Lowndes142054
Wilcox127030
Bullock124242
Conecuh113430
Coosa111429
Perry108626
Sumter105732
Greene93534
Choctaw62025
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 82°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
76° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 76°
Oxford
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 79°
Starkville
Partly Cloudy
75° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 75°
We continue to monitor a tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico. This will be in heavy rainfall two locations across the southeast over the course of the weekend, and flooding rainfall could be in tow as well. Things are looking better for Father’s Day itself, thankfully.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather