Laurel Hubbard drops retirement hint after Olympics furore: 'Age just caught up with me'

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Laurel Hubbard drops retirement hint after Olympics furore: 'Age just caught up with me' - AP
Laurel Hubbard drops retirement hint after Olympics furore: 'Age just caught up with me' - AP

Laurel Hubbard, who became the first transgender athlete to compete individually at the Olympics, has suggested she is "hanging up the boots".

The reluctant face at the centre of a polarised debate in sport failed to register a score during her debut in the women's weightlifting on Monday.

At 43, she told broadcasters in New Zealand that age "just caught up with me". "If we're being honest, it probably caught up with me some time ago," she added. "My involvement in sport is probably due if nothing else to heroic amounts of anti-inflammatories and it's probably time for me to start thinking about hanging up the boots and concentrating on other things in my life."

On a night in which Emily Campbell took Britain's first medal in the sport, Hubbard failed in all three attempts at snatching beyond 120kg in the super heavyweight competition. Having transitioned aged 35, critics claimed she had an unfair advantage, and she recognised afterwards that her involvement was "controversial".

When asked by a New Zealand broadcaster how she had been dealing with all the scrutiny, she said: “That’s a good question. I’m not sure it’s possible for any person to really block out everything that is happening in the world but you do what you can and get on with it.”

Hubbard set national records in junior competition under her given name before undergoing hormone therapy and coming out as trans in 2013, aged 35. She has won a silver medal at the 2017 World Championships. She is one of three athletes competing in Tokyo who openly describe themselves as trans.

There’s a Canadian footballer called Quinn, who came out as nonbinary and transgender via Instagram last year, and a BMX cyclist called Chelsea Wolfe. The IOC is now under pressure to fast-track an update to its 2015 guidelines. New rules are expected to be announced within two months.