Neither she nor he, Hiltz is elle: "I try to be the person I needed when I was young"

by archynewsycom
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Nikki Hiltz smile and smile. His mission in life is complex, but he avoids conflict. In his interventions in the mixed zone, if a journalist makes a mistake in the pronoun, he does not rectify it. Smile and smile. In the 1,500 meters of the World Cup in Budapest that ended last Tuesday, she is focused on running. She is the United States distance champion, she is eliminated in the semifinals and leaves in disgust because she wanted to be in the final, rubbing shoulders with the Kenyan Faith Kipyegon and company.

«I failed in my goal of entering the final. I ran in four minutes and, despite this, I was left out. The level is very high, more and more. But I am proud to get to where I have arrived, “he explains in conversation with EL MUNDO before returning to Arizona, resume his training and then yes, his fight. Because Nikki is not her and it is not him: Nikki is the first non-binary transgender person in sports. She was born with female organs and runs in the female category, but she doesn’t identify as a woman, nor as a man. Nikki is her.

“I have a very clear memory of my sixth birthday. Before I blew out the candles on my cake, I wished I would wake up as a child the next morning. […] At the time, I was expressing my gender identity by asking to cut my hair short, wearing baseball caps, and refusing to wear dresses. It felt more like me when I played soccer on the playground, when my father called me Nick instead of Nikki, and when substitute teachers, who didn’t know me, mistook me for a boy,” Hiltz wrote in Runner’s World the first time he spoke. openly about his identity. On March 31, 2021, International Transgender Day of Visibility, Hiltz came out as nonbinary transgender.

Then came two waves, one of support and one of hate, which hit equally. She suddenly felt too much pressure to represent the LGBTQ+ community, suddenly read too many slurs to keep her cool, and ultimately, with a stumble at the US Trials, she was left out of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Hiltz was born in California in 1994 and soon excelled in track and field. In her sophomore year of high school, she was ranked in the top 10 teens in the country, and her coach told her mom, “Nikki’s already paid for college.” It was true. The University of Oregon, the best in the United States to be an athlete, signed her and she dreamed of emulating Steve Prefontaine when it broke. A stress fracture. Two years in the dry dock. Goodbye scholarship. She went on to the University of Arkansas where she was a two-time NCAA runner-up before turning pro and signing with Adidas.

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