Laurel Hubbard is a transgender weightlifter from New Zealand, and she could very well make history this summer. Given her recent performances in the sport, it's quite likely that she will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics ahead of the May 31 qualifying deadline.
The New Zealand Olympic Committee is keeping its cards close to its chest about the subject, saying in a statement that the organization is "not in a position to comment on the likelihood of any athlete's selection until we have the necessary evidence," per NBC Sports.
Hubbard transitioned in her mid-30s and has been competing on an international level since 2017. Her accolades include a second-place finish at the world championships in 2017 and a sixth-place finish at the same competition in 2019. Overall, she ranks 16th in the 87+kg weight class for Olympic qualifying.
The way qualification works, in terms of ranking, is that the top eight lifters are guaranteed Olympic spots, and then each continent is given an additional spot for nations that don't have someone in that top eight.
Hubbard has the additional top spot for Oceania by a fair margin, with a lifter from Samoa currently ranking seventh overall.
Weightlifting follows the International Olympic Committee's guidelines on transgender athletes, which allows those who transitioned from male to female if their total level of testosterone in serum is below 10 nanomoles per liter for at least a year. Additionally, the athlete must keep their declared gender identity for at least four years after it's been declared.
Hubbard has not given interviews since her appearance in the 2017 World Championships.