Nikki Hiltz, transgender runner, qualifies for U.S. Olympic team after winning 1,500-meter final

 American transgender middle-distance runner Nikki Hiltz qualified for the 2024 Olympic Games on Sunday with a record-breaking performance in the women's 1,500-meter final.

Hiltz finished the race in first place with a final time of 3:55.33 at the U.S. Olympic track & field trials, held at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field, surpassing Elle St. Pierre's 2021 U.S. trials record of 3:58:03.

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Nikki Hiltz celebrates crossing the finish line to win the women's 1500-meter final on Day Ten of the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Track & Field Trials at Hayward Field on June 30, 2024, in Eugene, Oregon. PHOTO BY PATRICK SMITH/GETTY IMAGES

In an Instagram post, Hiltz, who uses they/them pronouns, called the moment "a childhood dream of mine" that came true. They went on to thank supporters, saying, "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." 

This will be the 29-year-old's first trip to the Olympics. They won a silver medal at the Indoor World Championships earlier this year.

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Emma Gee and Nikki Hiltz react after Hiltz won the women's 1500-meter final on Day Ten of the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Track & Field Trials at Hayward Field on June 30, 2024, in Eugene, Oregon.PHOTO BY PATRICK SMITH/GETTY IMAGES

Sunday's race was on the last day of Pride Month, adding significance to the monumental moment for Hiltz. In a post-race interview with NBC Sports, Hiltz said the accomplishment is "bigger than just me."

"I wanted to run this for my community," Hiltz continued, "All of the LGBT folks, yeah, you guys brought me home that last hundred. I could just feel the love and support." 

The 2024 Olympic Games will begin on July 26, 2024, in Paris, France.

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