Nikki Hiltz of the United States poses for photos after finishing second in the women's 1,500-meter final at the World Athletics Indoor Championships at Emirates Arena on March 3, 2024, in Glasgow, Scotland. | Photo by Sam Mellish/Getty Images

Nikki Hiltz has their sites set on the Paris Olympics and their performance at the world indoor track and field championships in Glasgow, Scotland, made quite a statement.

Hiltz ran a personal best in the 1,500 meters with a time of 4:02.32, good enough for a silver medal, winning the first American medal in the event since 2003. Their performance left Hiltz in shock.

“Yeah, I’m in disbelief. I can’t believe it.,” said Hiltz, 29, who is transgender and non-binary. The gold medal was won by Ethiopia’s Freweyni Hailu and American Emily Mackay took the bronze. Afterwards, Hiltz and Mackay celebrated on Instagram.

“We’re here to medal,” Hiltz said on a podcast with Citius Magazine. “We worked so hard, and no one worked harder than any of us. You just have to do it on the day. I think we all did it, and it’s so cool.”

Hiltz is girlfriends with Emma Gee, their biggest fan and also a champion runner who rooted them on in Glasgow, writing on Instagram: “Congratulations to my sweet Nikki for taking silver in the 1500 at the World Athletics Indoor Championships!! What a race. What a kick. Ugh just incredible. You shine so bright.”

Hiltz was named Outsports Non-Binary Athlete of the Year in 2023 for being the first out non-binary runner to win a U.S. track and field title after winning the 1,500 meters at the outdoor championships in July. In February, they won their second straight indoor 1,500 meters title at the USA Track and Field Indoor National Championships in Albuquerque, N.M. After that win, Hiltz talked about how they were racing for more than themselves.

“Wore my ‘them’ necklace yesterday at the US championships for all the they/thems out there,” Hiltz wrote on X. “I’m so thankful for the nonbinary and trans community for believing in me and encouraging me to continue to chase my silly little dreams. Keep showing up and taking up space.”

Hiltz will now take a break before the start of the outdoor season and a push to qualify for the Olympics by heading home to Santa Cruz County to recharge, telling the Santa Cruz Sentinel: “I’m excited to go back to my roots, and my home, and run in The Forest of Nisene Marks, and see the beaches, and hang out with all the people that helped me get to this point.”

If Hiltz’s amazing start to the year continues, Paris can’t be too far behind.

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