The Olympics are about to experience a historic first. A Canadian soccer player will become the first transgender, non-binary person to win a medal at the global sports competition.
According to NBC News, Canadian midfielder Quinn (who uses they/them pronouns) is primed to receive a medal at the end of this week. What exact medal they’ll win depends on how Canada’s women’s soccer team fairs against the Swedish team on Friday, August 6.
The two teams will compete for the gold medal and the match will be the first time Canada’s women’s soccer team will compete in the final match at the Olympics. No matter what, however, the team and Quinn will walk away with a medal.
“I’m so proud of my team. They’re my best friends. I’m so glad we’re bringing back a better medal than bronze,” said Quinn to Canadian news outlet the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
“[I’m] getting messages from young people saying they’ve never seen a trans person in sports before,” they added. “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.”
While Quinn has already received an Olympic medal, a bronze medal in the 2016 Rio d Janeiro Olympics, they had not come out at the time. Quinn came out as transgender and nonbinary in an Instagram post last year. While doing so, they encouraged their followers to be better allies to trans and nonbinary people.
“Coming out is HARD ( and kinda bs),” they wrote in September. “I know for me it’s something I’ll be doing over again for the rest of my life. As I’ve lived as an openly trans person with the people I love most for many years, I did always wonder when I’d come out publicly.”
There are at least 179 openly LGBTQ athletes participating in the Olympics this year. While there has been controversy around athletes being outed over Grindr, most of the festivities have been a celebration of LGBTQ representation. Counting Quinn, about 25 LGBTQ athletes have won medals in Tokyo, Japan. In addition, at least three other Olympians are openly trans or non-binary: Laurel Hubbard, Alana Smith, and Chelsea Wolfe.
Congratulations and good luck to Quinn, the Canadian women’s soccer team, and all the LGBTQ athletes yet to compete at this year’s Summer Olympics.