With the Summer Olympics right around the corner, there has been a growing focus on the debate over the inclusion of transgender athletes in the games. Former pro weightlifter and Olympic athlete Tracey Lambrechs is speaking out on the issue, arguing that this inclusion is detrimental to the success of female competitors.

The New Zealand weightlifter decided to speak out about the issue after Laurel Hubbard qualified to participate in the upcoming games in Tokyo. Also from New Zealand, Hubbard is a male-to-female transgender athlete.

Hubbard and Lambrechs’ History

Hubbard and Lambrechs had previously competed against each other with Hubbard coming out on top. Hubbard had previously competed in the sport as a male athlete before going through the transition.

After Hubbard won over the top spot from Lambrechs in New Zealand, Lambrechs was forced to lose 40 pounds so that she could compete in a lower weight class.

Lambrechs said that she was instructed by the New Zealand national team to not voice her opinion on the inclusion of transgender athletes, despite the fact that the competition from Hubbard hurt her own chances of qualifying for the games. She called the entire situation “upsetting and stressful.”

History of Transgender Athletes in the Olympics

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) made the controversial announcement in 2015 that it would allow biological males to compete in female events as long as the testosterone level was below 10 nanomoles per liter for the year before the competition.

An unintended consequence of this decision was that the requirement has kept females with naturally high levels of the hormone from competing in the games.