News & Politics

Women's Olympic Weightlifters Should Take a Knee if Trans Athletes Are Allowed to Compete

AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has laid the groundwork for the destruction of the women’s divisions in Olympic sports by permitting New Zealand to enter a congenital male in the women’s division of Olympic weightlifting in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. And as odd as this sounds, the only way to save women’s sports is for the female competitors to boycott the event in its entirety.

The former Gavin Hubbard was a competitor in Olympic weightlifting prior to transitioning to a female gender in 2012, with a competition total in the snatch and the clean and jerk of 305 kg in the men’s 105+ weight class at the age of 20. After being allowed to enter the women’s division, Laurel Hubbard’s best total was 285 kg, set in 2019. There are several women in the 87+ kg weight class who are capable of beating that total, including Russian lifter Tatiana Kashirina and Chinese lifter Li Wenwen, so the issue is not that Hubbard, now 43, will automatically win the weight class. But there will be women who place lower than they should have. So the larger issue is the existence of the women’s division itself, and what it was supposed to accomplish.

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The congenital differences between men and women are quite apparent to parents of male and female children, and they manifest in recognizable behavior and ability by the age of 2. The primary effects of testosterone begin to alter the fetal neuromuscular system about 8 weeks post-conception, with the testosterone levels of puberty merely finishing the job started before birth. Males are stronger, more explosive, and faster than females. This is in evidence throughout human performance, with the average women’s standing vertical jump test at 14 inches and the men’s at 22 inches. It is why we have men’s and women’s divisions in all sports, with no sport allowing direct competition between men and women. It has been apparent throughout human history that the sexes are different in terms of physical capacity and that this is true from birth, and I shouldn’t have to point this out to anybody.

Yet the International Olympic Committee has decided to join this parade of silliness by ruling that any congenital male can compete in the women’s division of Olympic sports if 1) he declares his “gender” to be female (this declaration cannot be changed for 4 years), and 2) he maintains a total testosterone level of below 10 nmol/L for one year before the competition. Stated in terms more familiar to people who know about testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), this is 288.42 ng/dL.

Many, many men are walking around right now with a testosterone level below 288, the vast majority of whom do not identify as female. Yet the IOC will let them enter the women’s division if they declare themselves to be women and beat enough women to be on the women’s team. This does not even rise to the level of being merely ridiculous. It is a patent abdication of the IOC’s responsibility to Olympic athletes in the face of political pressure to conform to the new social agenda promoted by NBC Sports, the actual owners of the Olympic Games. Women’s Olympic weightlifting has only been in the Games since 2000, and this decision affects far more athletes than just the weightlifters.

New Zealand has until July 5 to turn in its official team rosters. If Laurel Hubbard is on the women’s  Olympic weightlifting team for New Zealand, that country and the IOC will have placed the rest of the world’s female Olympic weightlifters in the interesting position of having to boycott the competition they have trained so hard to qualify for. I am suggesting that every female lifter who has qualified for the Tokyo Games in Olympic weightlifting (and indeed any other sport allowing congenital males to compete in the women’s division) should boycott the competition by sitting in the audience, making their presence and their disapproval known to everybody else. This is the only way I know of to point out the absurdity -– by letting the only one on the competition platform be the one who has no right to be there.

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Because the men cannot fix this, the IOC doesn’t want to fix it, and the media think it has been fixed, it is up to the women’s division competitors to address this problem. Any woman who agrees to compete against an intact congenital male — regardless of current hormone status — has agreed to the same lie the IOC has decided to accept. I know they have trained harder than anybody except other coaches and athletes can understand, and that this is a huge sacrifice to ask of them. But doing otherwise would mean that the history of human athletic competition, and specifically the last 21 years of women’s Olympic weightlifting, has been a pointless exercise in unwarranted trust of revered institutions. If the fools on the IOC will do this, they will do anything to pander to the media and to the loudest special interest group within earshot, while disregarding logic, biology, and common sense.