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Several trans athletes eyeing spots in 2020 Summer Olympics

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Trans athletes aim to compete in volleyball and weightlifting.

Laurel Hubbard Portrait Session
Laurel Hubbard has a silver in the World Championships. Will she compete in the Olympics?
Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Several transgender women are hoping for spots on their country’s Olympic teams for the Summer Games in 2020.

American volleyball player Tia Thompson has made no secret that she is hoping to represent her country in the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. The Hawaiian woman has been approved to compete in USA Volleyball events, and she is headed to a USA Volleyball national tournament in May to showcase her talents.

Fellow volleyball player Tifanny Abreu, who plays professional women’s volleyball in Brazil, is also hoping to make her country’s national volleyball team. She got The New York Times treatment over the weekend as they pointed to a debate about the inclusion of trans athletes.

“Just like any other player, I’d like to go to the Olympics,” Abreu said, according to the Times. “But I know it’s not going to happen just because I’m getting all this attention. I’ve got to do my best as a player.”

A third trans athlete, weightlifter Laurel Hubbard of New Zealand, may have the best chance of appearing in the 2020 Summer Olympics. She already has a silver medal in the World Championships just over two years away from the Games.

Hubbard will compete in the Commonwealth Games in April despite the protests of rival Australia.

The International Olympic Committee adjusted its trans-inclusion policy a couple years ago in part because of the success of duathlete and triathlete Chris Mosier in men’s competitions. While Mosier is a man, the new policy adjusted the qualifications for trans women, including mandated testosterone levels for a prolonged period of at least 12 months. There is a provision that discusses a prolonged period mandated on a case-by-case basis.

As long as these women comply with those regulations, they will have had reduced testosterone levels for several years and will be eligible to compete in the Olympic Games.

There has never been a publicly out trans athlete competing in the Olympics. Given the number of potential competitors, there’s at least a decent chance we will see one in Tokyo.