The women’s soccer final at the Tokyo Olympics was historic on multiple fronts. For one, the match marked Canada’s first gold medal in the sport. And for another, midfielder Quinn became the first openly trans, nonbinary Olympian to medal in the history of the Games.
The 25-year-old Torontonian cemented their name in the history books when Canada triumphed over Sweden on Friday via penalty kicks ― yet another first for the soccer finals.
In an interview with CBC Sports earlier this week, Quinn expressed their pride in getting to be a role model for young people.
“Athletics is the most exciting part of my life and it brings me the most joy,” Quinn, who goes by one name, said. “If I can allow kids to play the sports they love, that’s my legacy and that’s what I’m here for.”
Quinn played for Canada in the Rio Games in 2016, where the team won bronze. But they did not come out publicly with their identities until last September, despite having been out in their personal life for years.
They opened up about the mixed feelings of being the “first” on Instagram last month.
“First openly trans Olympian to compete. I don’t know how to feel,” Quinn wrote. “I feel proud seeing ‘Quinn’ up on the lineup and on my accreditation. I feel sad knowing there were Olympians before me unable to live their truth because of the world.”
They continued, “I feel optimistic for change. Change in the 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.”
Although Quinn made history as the first medalist, they’re not the only openly transgender or nonbinary athlete at the Tokyo Games. Alongside Quinn are Laurel Hubbard, a weightlifter from New Zealand; Chelsea Wolfe from the U.S. women’s BMX Freestyle team; and American skateboarder Alana Smith.