On Saturday at the 2023 USATF Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., non-binary athlete Nikki Hiltz pulled off an upset in the women’s 1,500m to become the first transgender athlete to win a US track and field title.
Nikki Hiltz outkicks Athing Mu to take the US 1500m title in dramatic style at 4:03.10. 👏 👏 pic.twitter.com/UAU1qETfIS
— AW (@AthleticsWeekly) July 9, 2023
Heading into the race and competing against the likes of 800m world champion Something Mu and 2020 Olympian Heather MacLean, Hiltz was not at all a clear favorite. They nestled into the middle of the pack for the first two laps and made sure they were near the front for a final sprint, beating Mu to the finish line in 4:03.10.
When asked where they got the extra boost to beat Mu after the race, Hiltz said they got an extra jolt after walking out and seeing the trans flag being held by a fan.
“I knew they’re here for me,” Hiltz said to reporters 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.”
Mu finished second in a personal best 4:03.44, and Cory McGee beat a diving Sinclaire Johnson for third in 4:03.48. Hiltz, Mu and McGee will be automatically selected to represent Team USA in the 1,500m at the 2023 World Athletics Championships. Mu, an 800m specialist, said on Monday that she will not run the middle-distance double and instead will focus on the 800m at worlds. Johnson will likely be selected by USATF as her replacement.
Nikki Hiltz credits Iowa trans community for USATF Road Mile Championship win
It is a year of firsts for Hiltz, who announced their non-binary status in 2021. In August, they will become the first non-binary runner to compete at the World Athletics Championships. In April, Hiltz became the first non-binary athlete to win a US title at the USATF Road Mile Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
Check out here for full results from the 2023 USATF Track and Field Championships.