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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

Updated Oct 14, 2021 - Economy & Business

Netflix under fire for handling of Dave Chappelle comments

Comedian Dave Chappelle in Las Vegas, Nevada, in July. Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos on Monday responded to growing frustrations among employees about the company's handling of anti-transgender comments made by comedian Dave Chappelle in his most recent Netflix special "The Closer."

Yes, but: His justification has only intensified frustrations, sources told Axios on Wednesday.

Updated 56 mins ago - World

17 U.S. and Canadian missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

American officials and authorities in Haiti are working to try and free 17 hostages from a U.S.-based missionary group who were kidnapped in Port-au-Prince over the weekend, AP reported Monday.

The latest: Christian Aid Ministries said in a statement Sunday, "The group of 16 U.S citizens and one Canadian citizen includes five men, seven women, and five children." The Ohio-based organization said they were on a trip to visit an orphanage when they were kidnapped Saturday.

China's economic growth slows

A worker assembles heavy truck engines in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang Province, on Monday. Photo: Long We/Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

China's economy grew 4.9% in the third quarter of 2021 compared with a year earlier, the country's National Bureau of Statistics announced Monday.

Why it matters: The gross domestic product growth in the July-September period in the world’s second-largest economy marked the "weakest pace since the third quarter of 2020 and slowing from 7.9% in the second quarter," Reuters notes.