Few women dominated the focus at the Olympics all for other reason but sports! US gymnast Simone Biles, Belarus sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya and New Zealand’s Laurel Hubbard are grabbing headlines as politics and personal issues were played in the sidelines of Tokyo Games.
Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya was granted a humanitarian visa by Poland after taking refuge in the Polish embassy in Tokyo. She had refused her team’s orders to board a flight home early from the Games on Sunday.
New Zealand’s Laurel Hubbard made history on Monday by becoming the first openly transgender athlete to compete at an Olympic Games, but suffered disappointment with an early exit from the women’s +87 kg competition won by China’s Li Wenwen.
Hubbard, 43, who was born male and competed as a man before transitioning to female in her 30s, was allowed to compete after meeting International Olympic Committee guidelines on testosterone for transgender athletes.
Her presence on the biggest stage has reignited debate about transgender athletes in women’s sport.
Before a low-key exit from the arena, she made a brief statement to reporters expressing gratitude to the International Olympic Committee and the International Weightlifting Federation for supporting her campaign.
“Of course, I’m not totally unaware of the controversy that surrounds my participation in these Games,” she said.
After pulling out of her first events with the “twisties”, a disorientating mental block, Simone Biles was included on the list of eight finalists for Tuesday’s beam competition.
The 24-year-old Biles, who won four golds at the 2016 Rio Games, dropped out of the all-around, floor exercise, vault and asymmetric bars finals in Tokyo.
Biles will compete in the balance beam competition, officials said yesterday, in what would be the superstar gymnast’s last chance for gold in Tokyo after pulling out of other events citing mental health issues.
Biles shocked the world last week when she withdrew from several events, putting a focus on athletes’ mental health and deepening the drama at a Games that have seen plenty of controversy.
In the 100 metres hurdles, Jasmine Camacho-Quinn won the first Olympic gold medal in athletics for Puerto Rico at the Games.
She exploded off the blocks to finish in 12.37 seconds despite hitting one hurdle.