Former Olympian and weightlifter Tracey Lambrechs warned on Thursday that male-to-female transgender athletes will eventually “knock women out of sport” unless action is taken.
Lambrechs competed in the same weight class as transgender athlete Laurel Hubbard after Hubbard, who was born biologically male, transitioned in 2013 and began competing in women’s weightlifting competitions, dominating the sport. She also went on to state that she lost all of her weightlifting records soon after Hubbard began competing.
“I was like ‘What do you mean? There’s no one that’s close to me,’” Lambrechs said during an interview with Fox News, recalling a phone call she received from her coach letting her know that Hubbard had eclipsed her lifting records and beat her out of the number one spot for their weight class. “Laurel started weightlifting, and she competed on the weekend. So as of now, you’re number two.”
It was recently announced that Hubbard is set to be the first openly transgender person to compete in the Olympics after winning a spot on the New Zealand national team. Hubbard is the oldest weightlifter competing, at 43 years old.
Lambrech said that trans athletes could destroy women’s sports by forcing out all biologically female competitors.
“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.
After Hubbard beat Lambrechs out of her records, Lambrechs was given the option to continue competing only if she dropped a weight class.
“I was told by the national weightlifting body that I either needed to drop a weight category or look at retiring,” Lambrechs said. Lambrechs ultimately decided to drop down a weight class in order to continue lifting.
In order to compete, Lambrech has lost nearly 40 pounds in three months to compete in a lower weight class as each nation is capped at sending just one athlete per class for major weightlifting competitions.
“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 said.
Lambrechs has previously claimed that athletes have been warned to stay silent about transgender competitors in women’s sports. In May, she said that sport was being taken away from women because of committees allowing biological men to compete against them.
“I’m quite disappointed, quite disappointed for the female athlete who will lose out on that spot,” Lambrechs said. “We’re all about equality for women in sport, but right now that equality is being taken away from us.”
“I’ve had female weightlifters come up to me and say, ‘What do we do? This isn’t fair, what do we do?’ Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do because every time we voice it we get told to be quiet,” she added.