Transgender athlete to make history in Olympic weightlifting

HIGHLIGHTS FROM RIO: China led the way with five gold medals and world records were broken in five different events. Sarah Robles won bronze for the United States’ first Olympic weightlifting medal since 2000. As usual for weightlifting, the medal records have been changed by doping cases since. Two lifters have both been stripped of bronze medals and gold medalist Nijat Rahimov of Kazakhstan is suspended.

WHAT’S NEW: There are seven men’s and seven women’s weight categories, meaning one fewer men’s event than in Rio, and the weight limits have been tweaked across the board.

TOKYO EXPECTATIONS: As usual, China is the team to beat. This time it’s helped by a spate of doping-related bans and restrictions on other teams. Romania, Thailand, Egypt and Malaysia are all suspended entirely, and 15 more countries including Russia and Turkey can only send smaller squads. North Korea won two events at the last world championships but isn’t competing at the Olympics because of the pandemic. Expect infighting behind the scenes at the International Weightlifting Federation after ex-president Tamas Ajan and two board members were charged with various anti-doping offenses in June.

ATHLETES TO WATCH: All eyes will be on New Zealand’s history-making transgender athlete Laurel Hubbard when she competes in the women’s over-87 kilogram category on Aug. 2. Hubbard was popular with the crowd when she competed at the Commonwealth Games in Australia in 2018 but missed the gold after injuring her arm while she was leading. … Michigan native Katherine Nye made her international debut in 2018, won a world title in 2019 and now heads to her first Olympics, but has to step up to the 76kg category from the 71kg where she’s had her greatest success to date. … Lasha Talakhadze of Georgia is the men’s Olympic and world super-heavyweight champion and holds the world record.

GOLD MEDAL MOMENT(S): Various categories each day from July 24 through August 4, except for July 29 and 30.