Kiwi transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard left no impression on the judges in Tokyo, but her appearance at the Games marked an enormous victory.
Not for her, not for New Zealand, but for people. Us. All of us in our diverse states. All of us whose unique soup of DNA marks us as individuals. We are born - never asked, and have our own struggles, some more pronounced than others.
She placed the issue of transgender participation in the middle of the room. She highlighted an uncomfortable truth in a binary world. This was not her aim, this was a by-product. Her want was to express herself through sport, a right afforded freely to all, but to some not as freely as it should be. Now the sporting world must recognise that athletes like Hubbard have stepped into the light.
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Her Olympic career is now at an end. The words she chose to sign off with are the words of an articulate, considered and intelligent human being who has dealt with her unusual situation in a manner with which we should all be proud. She has no medal to show for her efforts but her groundbreaking appearance has superseded the need for any congratulatory ore.
"I am not entirely unaware of the controversy which surrounds my participation at these Games," she said.
The weight of that sentence, the consideration and pressure behind it would be enough to collapse any effort to represent on the world's greatest sporting stage.
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It's hardly a surprise that Laurel Hubbard was unable to compete to her best under those circumstances. But the fact she was there, the fact that under the judgmental stare of the world she still turned up, says to me her short time at the pinnacle of her sport will always resonate as a win.
Let it be known that the sky didn't fall when Laurel Hubbard lifted at the Olympic Games. The sun came up, the world remained on its axis.
Her participation, along with the likes of Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi, shows that we live in a complex sporting world, not a conveniently cookie-cut template.
Mboma and Masilingi, two Namibian teenagers, were denied entry into their favoured event, the 400m. They both had natural testosterone levels that were considered too high. One biological marker to rule them all. This emphasises that the current demarcation around athlete participation based on gender is clumsy, to say the least. There is a great deal of work still to be done in this space.
Hubbard didn't win. She failed spectacularly if her success is to be based on pure results. Weights lifted, arms locked, feet planted, white light flashed. None of that occurred when she took the platform. Hubbard claimed in the wash-up that she was overwhelmed. That she overcooked it. Failure, in this case, can't be attached to her performance though, it was greater than the sum of its parts.
She succeeded based on her appearance alone, upholding the proud New Zealand tradition of blazing a trail for others to follow.