Canada has finally claimed its historic soccer gold, after an incredible penalty shootout went to extra shots. Quinn, who joined Laurel Hubbard as the first out trans athletes to compete at an Olympics, is also the Olympics’ first out nonbinary, trans gold medalist.
Breaking 20 years of consecutive losses to the United States, the Canadian women’s soccer streak in Tokyo proved to be unbreakable as they overcame Sweden this morning in a nail-biting 3-2 penalty shootout.
In past Olympic Games, Canada has won bronze, and their success at the highest levels now is absolutely remarkable considering they’re one of the only teams at the Games to not have a professional women’s soccer league in their home country. This could prove to be a real turning point for the development and investment in Canadian women’s soccer.
It’s an especially rewarding moment for captain Christine Sinclair, Canada’s most-capped player with over 300 appearances, and the global leader in international goals with 187 – more than any other player of any gender. At 38 years old, it’s extremely gratifying to see her decades of hard work pay off in such a spectacular way.
The Canadian squad is led by an out head coach, Bev Priestman, and includes LGBTQ players Kadeisha Buchanan, Stephanie Labbé, Kailen Sheridan, Erin McLeod and most notably Quinn, who was Outsports’ 2020 nonbinary athlete of the year.
Quinn remains the highest-drafted Canadian in NWSL history, taken third overall by the Washington Spirit in 2018. While they can now add Olympic gold medalist to their list of distinctions, Quinn’s real legacy is something we’ll see off the pitch for years to come. From current pros like Kumi Yokoyama to up-and-coming generations of trans players, Quinn’s courageous coming out has meant others have felt empowered to live authentically themselves too.
“[I’m] getting messages from young people saying they’ve never seen a trans person in sports before. Athletics is the most exciting part of my life ... If I can allow kids to play the sports they love, that’s my legacy and that’s what I’m here for,” Quinn told CBC reporter Devin Heroux.
“I feel proud seeing ‘Quinn’ on the line-up and on my accreditation. I feel sad knowing there were Olympians before me unable to live their truth because of the world,” they said in a postgame interview, using the opportunity to advocate for further acceptance of trans and nonbinary people in sport. “I feel optimistic for change. Change in legislature. Changes in rules, structures, and mindsets. Mostly, I feel aware of the realities. Trans girls being banned from sports. Trans women facing discrimination and bias while trying to pursue their Olympic dreams. The fight isn’t close to over ... and I’ll celebrate when we’re all here.”
“Seeing it up close every day and the way that they live their joy, it’s just amazing,” commented Quinn’s OL Reign teammate Megan Rapinoe, putting the USWNT’s loss to Canada on Monday aside to big up her teammate before the gold medal match.
Even in defeat, thoughtful @mPinoe shared with me her thoughts on @OLReign teammate @TheQuinny5:— Kelly VanderBeek (@KellyVSki) August 2, 2021
"...Seeing it up close every day & the way that they live their joy, it’s just amazing. So, I hope they go get that gold & become the first openly trans to win a gold medal.” pic.twitter.com/7KhjHwgAtm
This final wraps up an incredible run for LGBTQ soccer players at the Olympics, who made up the largest contingent of out athletes in Tokyo, numbering at least 40, about a third of whom are going home with a medal.