Former New Zealand weightlifter and Olympian Tracey Lambrechs speaks out after being knocked out of competitions in her weight category by transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard.
Laurel Hubbard recently made history as the first transgender athlete to make it to the Olympics after qualifying for New Zealand’s weightlifting team. Hubbard has faced backlash, with some athletes saying it’s “unfair” for her to compete in women’s sports at that level.
Tracey Lambrechs, a recently retired New Zealand weightlifter and Olympian in 2016, previously held multiple national weightlifting records until Hubbard began competing.
She said in an interview on “Fox Friends” that she received a call from her coach telling her that all of her records had been broken over a weekend.
“I was like ‘What do you mean? There’s no one that’s close to me,’” she said, as she recalled the news of losing her top ranking. “Laurel started weightlifting, and she competed on the weekend. So as of now, you’re number two.”
Lambrechs was then forced out of her weight class for competitions because each nation is only allowed to send one athlete per class to compete.
“I was told by the national weightlifting body that I either needed to drop a weight category or look at retiring.”
As a result, Lambrechs lost 18 kilograms, or nearly 40 pounds, in three months in order to qualify for a lower weight class.
“I just did what I had to do to accomplish my goal of competing at my third Commonwealth Games. It meant a lot to me to show the Commonwealth that I wasn’t knocked out that easily.”
Lambrechs has since retired from weightlifting, saying she was upset with the way she was treated as an athlete and had enough after her last competition.
She emphasized the importance of maintaining separate male and female categories in strength competitions.
“I look at a lot of young athletes around us. There are 14, 15-year-old boys lifting what our females lift.”
She warned the entrance of transgender athletes into competitions will have a larger impact on women’s sports.
“It’s honestly going to knock women out of sport. Women are not going to want to participate in something where there isn’t opportunity for them to win medals or go to international competition,” she said.