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Laurel Hubbard. Photo: Stanislav Krasilnikov\TASS via Getty Images

New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard made history on Monday as the first openly transgender female athlete to compete at the Olympics.

Why it matters: The presence of trans and nonbinary athletes at this year's Games has been celebrated by LGBTQ+ rights advocates, but stirred controversy among critics, who argue trans women have an unfair advantage even after taking hormones to lower their testosterone.

  • The science on that belief is inconclusive. Also, non-transgender women have a wide range of naturally occurring testosterone levels.
  • Hubbard, 43, competed in male weightlifting before transitioning at age 35. She qualified for the Tokyo Games in the 87+ kg category after completing the required rules for trans athletes, including suppressing her testosterone levels below a proscribed level (10 nmol/L) for at least a year.

The big picture: Hubbard failed to successfully complete any of her three lifts in the snatch portion of the event. She made a heart sign with her hands after her third lift and mouthed "thank you," making history even as she excited the Olympics early.

Photo: Ina Fried/Axios

What she's saying: Speaking to reporters after she competed, Hubbard thanked the New Zealand Olympic committee for its support in the lead up and during the Games. "I know my appearance has not been entirely without controversy," she said.

  • She also thanked the International Olympic Committee, saying its commitment "demonstrated that sport is something that all people around the world can do. It's inclusive, it's successful and I think that's just really fabulous."

Be smart: Athletes in Olympic weightlifting compete in two disciplines: snatch, followed by clean and jerk, with the highest combined totals earning the medals.

  • Hubbard was among 10 athletes competing tonight, along with several others who did their lifts earlier in the day.
  • China's Li Wenwen captured gold, setting a new Olympic record. Britain's Emily Jade Campbell took the silver and American Sarah Robles won bronze.
Photo: Ina Fried

Go deeper: Trans athletes see the Tokyo Games as a watershed moment

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

Go deeper

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signs Texas law targeting trans youth in sports

LGBTQ rights supporters gather at the Texas State Capitol to protest state Republican-led efforts to pass legislation that would restrict the participation of transgender student athletes. Photo: Tamir Kalifa/Getty Images

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Monday signed a bill that will force public school students to play on sports teams based on their assigned sex at birth.

Why it matters: Though Texas has proposed over 40 bills targeting transgender youth, this is the first to become law, the 19th News reports.

Advocates fret Roe v. Wade's 49th anniversary could be its last

Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Women's March Inc

As Saturday marks the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's landmark decision that legalized abortion access in the U.S., advocates warn the ruling is "more at risk now than ever."

The big picture: The Supreme Court in December heard a challenge to a Mississippi 15-week abortion ban that could throw Roe's survival into question, or at least narrow its scope.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker