Nikki Hiltz posing on a playground

Transgender, Nonbinary Runner Nikki Hiltz Talks 'Mental Work' Ahead Of 2024 Olympics

Home / Sports / Transgender, Nonbinary Runner Nikki Hiltz Talks 'Mental Work' Ahead Of 2024 Olympics

By Kelly Coffey-Behrens on July 3, 2024 at 2:15 PM EDT

Nikki Hiltz, who uses they/them pronouns, qualified for the 2024U.S. Olympics team after winning the women’s 1,500-meter race with a final time of 3:55.33. They also shattered Elle St. Pierre’s U.S. trials record of 3:58.03, set in 2021.

The seven-time All-American from San Diego, California, celebrated at the finish line alongside their girlfriend, fellow track and field athlete Emma Gee.

Following their historic win, Nikki Hiltz, the first out LGBTQ student-athlete at Brigham Young University, shared how they prepared for the Olympic Trials.

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Who Is Nikki Hiltz? Meet The Nonbinary Runner

After qualifying for their first Olympics over the weekend, Nikki Hiltz spoke with reporters to express what this means for the LGBTQ community.

“I literally can’t believe it,” they said. “This is bigger than just me. It’s the last day of Pride Month. I wanted to run this one for my community. All the LGBT folks, yeah, you guys brought me home that last hundred [meters]. I could just feel the love and support.”

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How Did Nikki Prep For The 2024 Olympic Trials?

After qualifying for the 2024 Olympics, Nikki Hiltz took to X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, to share what their pre-trials routine looked like.

Not only did they meet with their therapist once a week, but they also journaled "positive self-talk and manifestations."

They also kept "randomly adding to my notes app things that motivate me, calmed me down, or instilled belief," and meditated for 100 days straight.

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Nikki Wakes Up As An Olympian

After the big celebration, Nikki Hiltz took to Instagram to express their gratitude for this opportunity. "Woke up an Olympian," they began. "Yesterday afternoon in Eugene, Oregon, a childhood dream of mine came true. I’m not sure when this will fully sink in… All I know is today I’m waking up just so grateful for my people, overwhelmed by all the love and support, and filled with joy that I get to race people I deeply love and respect around a track for a living."

Many supported Hiltz, as one of their followers commented, "I will never forget that epic finish of you out-kicking everyone around you to win that race! Very happy for you and wish you the best of success in Paris!"

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"I cried when I saw you win, and I cried when I saw the video of you crossing the finish line. I cried when I saw you cry. Trans representation matters. Thank you," another said.

Women's Running Magazine also commented. "We are so very very very happy for you," the publication wrote.

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Partnering With Lulu Lemon

In 2022, Nikki Hiltz announced a new partnership with Lulu Lemon to advocate for the LGBTQ community in sports.

"I feel like I have nothing to lose now when I’m on the track," they told Self Magazine. "Before, with the previous model of sponsorships, you’re under a lot of pressure to have these performances or run these times. And that pressure is not there anymore. It’s more about a holistic approach, and Lululemon really sees their athletes as people, not just athletes.

"For me, representation is huge," Hiltz added. "The more I can be seen, the more trans kids out there can see themselves in a sport that maybe they love too. Lululemon using their platform to showcase me as a trans athlete will only help."

Speaking On The Future Of Sports

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) previously emphasized the importance of inclusion and non-discrimination in sport, which the seven-time All-American also spoke out on.

"The Olympics this past year had the most out athletes ever, and I think that’s just going to continue to happen," they told the magazine. "I feel like when I was growing up, everything was very white and cis and straight, and now it’s shifting. You just see more and more representation at all levels."

According to The New York Post, Hiltz came out about their sexuality at age 19, and revealed their gender identity at 26.

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