Nikki Hiltz, who identifies as transgender nonbinary, dedicates USATF win to LGBTQ community

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Nikki Hiltz, who identifies as transgender nonbinary, dedicates USATF win to LGBTQ community

Nikki Hiltz continued a strong 2023 track season as they surged ahead of the competition to win the women's 1500m at the 2023 USATF Championships Satu

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Nikki Hiltz continued a strong 2023 track season as they surged ahead of the competition to win the women’s 1500m at the 2023 USATF Championships Saturday. 

The 28-year-old, a biological woman who identifies as a transgender nonbinary, said the victory at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, was a win for the trans community. 

‘It was awesome,’ Hiltz said after the win. ‘I think there’s so much hate right now, and specifically the bills being passed for trans youth. 

‘I feel like the LGBTQ community needed a win and there’s so many things that go through your mind in the race, and for whatever reason that was kind of in the back of my mind.’

They also claimed they received an extra boost after walking out and seeing a fan holding up a trans flag. 

Nikki Hiltz won the women's 1500m at the 2023 USATF Championships Saturday

Nikki Hiltz won the women's 1500m at the 2023 USATF Championships Saturday

Nikki Hiltz won the women’s 1500m at the 2023 USATF Championships Saturday

The 28-year-old is a biological woman who identifies as a transgender nonbinary

The 28-year-old is a biological woman who identifies as a transgender nonbinary

The 28-year-old is a biological woman who identifies as a transgender nonbinary

They sealed their celebrations with a kiss and embrace with partner Emma McGee (L)

They sealed their celebrations with a kiss and embrace with partner Emma McGee (L)

They sealed their celebrations with a kiss and embrace with partner Emma McGee (L)

‘I saw that trans flag right when I came out before the race even started and I [felt like] that person. I don’t know their pronouns or who they are, but they brought that flag and I bet they’re here for me.’ 

It was quite the comeback for Hiltz, who was in seventh place at the 800-meter mark before clawing their back to the very front of the pack. 

They made a brilliant move down the final straight, moving to the outside of Athing Mu before finding another gear to cross the line at 4:03:10.

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Their late push past Mu saw them break through the tape in first, cruising ahead of their rivals, with reigning US champion in the event, Sinclaire Johnson, even taking a tumble as she propelled herself forward in an attempt to cross the line to make the top three. 

Johnson’s dive wasn’t successful and she had to settle for fourth, just .01 seconds behind McGee at 4:03:49.

With a beaming smile on their face, they took a victory lap and sought the fan with the flag to gift them their racing bib. 

‘I saw them after the race and I gave them my bibs,’ they said. ‘I did a whole victory lap holding my bib. I wanted to give it to that one person because they were the reason I won, or one of them. They pulled it out of me. So it was awesome.

‘Track is a super niche sport and I don’t even know that many trans or queer people watch. So the ones that do, that’s who I do it for.’

They were also spotted sharing a kiss and embrace with partner, Emma McGee. 

Mu and Cory McGee crossed the finish line in second and third, respectively. 

Hiltz came into the race having won having won the indoor 1500 and road mile titles earlier this year, making Saturday’s triumph the third win under their belt. 

Reigning US champion in the event, Sinclaire Johnson, fell as she tried to dive over the line

Reigning US champion in the event, Sinclaire Johnson, fell as she tried to dive over the line

Reigning US champion in the event, Sinclaire Johnson, fell as she tried to dive over the line

Hilt's late push past Athing Mu (second right) saw them break through the tape in first

Hilt's late push past Athing Mu (second right) saw them break through the tape in first

Hilt’s late push past Athing Mu (second right) saw them break through the tape in first

In April, Hiltz became the first openly nonbinary athlete to win the Grand Blue Mile, according to the Des Moines Register. 

They wrote in an Instagram post following the win: ‘I can confidently say that the amount of pride flags I saw along yesterdays course, especially on the home stretch, is exactly what gave me that extra gear to pull away for the win with about 50 meters to go.’

‘Before 2021, before I came out, I was just kind of committed to never sharing this part of myself and I was going to go through my whole career without ever coming out, and asking people to refer to me differently and being my true self,’ Hiltz told the Des Moines Register in April. 

‘So it’s really cool, on a personal note, to see how much I’ve grown and I’m comfortable to be myself.’

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