It takes balls to lift weights

That the Olympic Games have been a sham has been an open secret since ancient Greece.

But the forthcoming event in Tokyo, if and when it happens (start time at the moment is set for July 23), will go one step forward, and head first into abyss: New Zealand’s Laurel Hubbard, a man who had declared himself a woman a decade and a half ago, will be lifting weights in Japan’s capital, representing his country as a female.

This is what the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) had to say about the matter: “The New Zealand team has a strong culture of inclusion and respect for all. We look forward to supporting all athletes selected to the New Zealand team in Tokyo 2020.”

While it sounds unbelievable, the change in the rules about gender happened because of the artificial Covid-19 hysteria. The same artificial hysteria that had moved Tokyo’s games from last year to this.

That the hysteria continues and many Japanese citizens are strongly opposed to having the games in their country altogether is another matter.

The important thing here is that it suffices for a guy to declare himself a woman, and the world of sports has decided to oblige.

The 43-year-old New Zealander hasn’t made the team yet. Not officially, at least. But the NZOC has already hinted that Hubbard was “very likely” to be “allocated an international federation quota spot for Tokyo 2020”.

The standard is simple: can the athlete finish in the top 16 at the Games, making the top-eight group potentially?

Hubbard, set to compete in the super-heavyweight class, has been recently ranked at the 17th spot.

All about fairness?

Hubbard earned silver at the 2017 World Championships, several years after his transition. Still, a few of her/his higher-ranked rivals will be missing in Tokyo. Only one athlete is allowed per country in each category.

The change in the rules for inclusion started in 2015. New Zealand’s closest neighbours, the Australians, complained quite openly, loudly and bitterly about Hubbard’s participation at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

To no avail, but, Hubbard eventually had to pull out because of an elbow injury, anyhow. On surface, at least, no harm was done to the integrity of the results (depending on doping tests that would follow).

The Covid-19 hysteria led the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to change the qualification rules. Athletes only had to attend four competitions rather than the previous six. Meaning: fewer tests for athletes’ gender.

Aged 43, Laurel Hubbard, originally Gavin, will become the oldest athlete to take part in Olympic Games, at least, in their modern version, that is.

Sporting experts, those who are interested in the performance rather than the politics of sports, like to say that inclusion used to mean the simplicity of equipment needed to perform. The less of it you needed, the more inclusive. That, they like to say, explains the worldwide popularity of football (soccer for the uninitiated) and running.

The entire scenario runs in strange contradiction to other IOC rules, such as those on performance enhancement chemicals. What about the level of testosterone in serum below 10 nanomoles per litre for at least a full calendar year?

Besides, scientists have proven beyond any doubt, reasonable or otherwise, that an athlete who has gone through puberty and development as a male ends up having physical advantage in terms of bone and muscle density.

As weight-lifting experts point out, this may have been the cause of Hubbard’s win over Samoa’s Feagaiga Stowers in the +87kg class. They last met at the 2019 Pacific Games. Hubbard’s 268 kg attempt clinched gold. A margin of a mere seven kg more than the Samoan.

A novel idea? Not really

If transgender athletes feel they deserve a place in the sun, why not create their own divisions, sports experts suggest. Yes, two different divisions: one for males who claim they feel ladylike, the other for girls who have grown beards and feel Tarzan-like.

After all, even the Paralympics have created different classes for eight different physical impairments plus vision impairment and intellectual impairment. The plan was to level the playing field for competing athletes of widely varying abilities.

Not that all hope is lost, but a recent American Miss pageant in Nevada was proud to announce a transgender guy as its winner. Who cares about the word: Miss?

Ancient Greece with its open doping and negotiated agreements about wins in exchange for material benefits was a prime example of morality in sports, compared to what is happening now.

Even the modern Olympic Games’ founder, the French aristocrat Charles Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin, would be rolling in his grave if he heard the news.

But, of course, he was a bloody aristocrat, and perfectly white-faced, too, so, who gives a hoot, so long as political correctness prevails.

Over sports, too.

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