Out non-binary track and field star Nikki Hiltz is Outsports’ Non-Binary Athlete of the Year for far more than their accomplishments on the track this year, but that isn’t to discount those triumphs in the slightest.
After winning their second USATF 1-mile Road championship in record-setting fashion in April, Hiltz broke the women’s mile record with a time of 4:16.35 and won their first U.S. Outdoor National Championship in the 1500m in July.
The title made Hiltz the first ever out non-binary runner to win a USATF title and landed them a berth in the 2023 World Championships, where they reached the 1500-meter semifinals.
With the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics rapidly approaching, Hiltz’s year has them aiming for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team and the chance to join Quinn and Alana Smith as the only out non-binary athletes to compete at the Olympic level (though, of course, others could join them).
Hiltz’s 2023 has been altogether one of the most successful athletic years for a non-binary athlete ever.
But populating their trophy case is only one motivation for Hiltz. They regularly speak about carrying trans and non-binary communities with them during races, proving to fans and critics that athletic success isn’t exclusive to those within the socially constructed gender binary.
I wrote myself a note on the plane ride home from Eugene after winning nationals. I thought it would be fun to read right before worlds. I almost saved it for the final but after seeing my semi heat I thought I’ll just go back and read it before this round so glad I did! pic.twitter.com/XZS7LJZJD6— Nikki Hiltz (@Nikki_Hiltz) August 21, 2023
Hiltz returned that support, using their platform to speak out against anti-trans legislation in multiple states.
“Trans people live in Iowa and they deserve access to healthcare and access to sports,” Hiltz told Citius Mag after winning the USATF 1-mile Road title in Iowa. “It meant more being in a state where there is so much hateful legislation.
“To me, queer people in the community were so grateful and thankful I was here … I’m grateful to them. They are the ones being here and living here and fighting back.”
Outsports is thrilled to honor Hiltz with this award, as we have supported them for many years and will continue to do so for as long as they race.
Other non-binary people considered:
- Pro wrestler Max The Impaler, who became the first out non-binary and transmasculine wrestler to win major championships in Japan and the U.S. before being named number one in the 2023 QWI 200,
- New York City Marathon Nonbinary Division champion Cal Calamia and out trans non-binary Canadian soccer star Quinn.
Previous winners of the Outsports Non-Binary Athlete of the Year Award
2022: Jake Caswell