OUSA’s Blues and Golds awards are “in recognition of the sporting, cultural and service achievements of current University of Otago students,” said still-president Michaela Waite-Harvey. This year, Laurel Hubbard took home Best Sportswoman.
Strangers on the internet, who don’t even go here, had a problem with that.
For what is certainly the first time, the always-reputable news source LadBible, reported on OUSA’s student awards. They published a story titled “Olympic Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard Named Sportswoman Of The Year”. The title did not hint at the fact that this was a small award from a university at the bottom of the world, which Laurel attends. But what more do you expect from a source that self-describes as 50% bro, 50% poorly-translated scripture?
The first line of the news piece made it clear that this was a small, local award, but people felt the need to get in touch with OUSA to complain about Laurel winning anway. Apparently they were more focussed on the fact that Laurel is transgender than on the fact that it’s not like the Uni sent any other active students to the Olympics this year in the first place.
To its credit, the original news piece contained no reference to the fact that Laurel’s career has been mired in controversy. It reported instead on how thankful she was to win the award and the other winners of this year’s Blues and Golds. Still, this is the only time LadBible has ever felt the need to report on our Blues and Golds. We welcome their coverage in the future, assuming that they wrote this article out of interest rather than presuming that public knowledge of a sporting controversy would get them some extra clicks.
Still-president of OUSA, Michaela ended up reading a lot of angry emails. She told Critic that: “OUSA has received abusive and transphobic communications since the announcement of the awards”, some of which were from communities outside of Otago and New Zealand as a whole. Michaela described these views as “narrow-minded”.
She went on to say that she was "incredibly proud of Laurel who is an excellent athlete.” Micheala said that Laurel was “wholly deserving of the Sportswoman of the Year Award as [she was] the highest achieving nominee we received.”
We could not reach out to the random strangers on the internet to ask why they suddenly cared about the Blues and Golds. But we assume the responses would’ve been colourful.