Trans athlete Nikki Hiltz heading to Paris Olympics after record US trials win

Nikki Hiltz, with their eyes closed, screams in victory after winning the 1500m race.

Trans non-binary middle-distance runner Nikki Hiltz is on their way to the Paris Olympics after a nail-biting finish at a trial race.

The American track star defended their national championship in a final 1500m race at the US Olympic Track and Field trials, with a record time of 3 minutes, 55.33 seconds.

During the intense final push between Hiltz, Elle Purrier St. Pierre and Emily Mackay, the trans non-binary competitor held off the competition.

Hiltz’s win, the second-fastest by an American in the event, means they will make their Olympic debut in Paris later this year.

Olympian St. Pierre, who had already qualified for Paris, took command in the race’s first 61 seconds, telling reporters after the race that she knew the “field was really deep” and wanted to make it “honest”. But in the final lap, Hiltz and Mackay began to close the gap, culminating in a bolt towards the finish line.

“I told myself: ‘I’m not going to think about all the love and support until 100m to go. Then you can let it all fill you up and push you to the finish line’,” Hiltz said.

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Their partner, Emma Gee – the first out LGBTQ+ student athlete to compete for Brigham Young University, in Utah – congratulated them in several Instagram posts.

“Y’all, they are headed to Paris,” she wrote. “Nikki Hiltz is an Olympian. Olympic Trials 1500m champion.”

Speaking to the Paris 2024 Olympics press team, Hiltz said that despite being ready for the event, their competitive prowess was still a shock.

“A month ago I was in 3:59 shape, now 3:55,” they said. “Where I’ll be in a month? I don’t know and I don’t want to put limits on that. I knew I was going to have to [set a personal record] to make this team, but 3:55? I haven’t gotten my head around that. I haven’t wrapped my head around the Olympics… there’s so much catching up to do.”

Hiltz came out publicly as trans non-binary in 2021, writing on Instagram: “Hi I’m Nikki and I’m transgender. That means I don’t identify with the gender I was assigned at birth. The word I use currently to describe my gender is non-binary. The best way I can explain my gender is as fluid.”

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