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Canadian soccer player Quinn makes history as first openly transgender and nonbinary Olympian to win medal

Canadian midfielder Quinn made history Friday as the first openly transgender and nonbinary athlete to win an Olympic medal. Canada defeated Sweden 3-2 in penalties to claim gold in the women's soccer final in the Tokyo Olympics.

The team battled from a 1-0 deficit during the game only to tie and later win it all in penalty kicks.

Even before the game, Quinn's appearance in the Tokyo Olympics was historic. They, along with New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard and American skateboarder Alana Smith, were the first openly transgender and nonbinary athletes to compete in the Olympics. Quinn and Smith were the first nonbinary athletes to partake in the Games. Hubbard was the first openly transgender woman to participate. Chelsea Wolfe is a transgender woman who qualified as an alternate for the United States' BMX freestyle team in Tokyo, but did not compete. 

Canada's midfielder Quinn warms up prior to the Tokyo Olympic Games women's final soccer match between Sweden and Canada at the International Stadium Yokohama in Yokohama, Japan, on August 6, 2021.
Canada's midfielder Quinn warms up prior to the Tokyo Olympic Games women's final soccer match between Sweden and Canada at the International Stadium Yokohama in Yokohama, Japan, on August 6, 2021. TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images

Quinn, who plays for OL Reign in the National Women's Soccer League, came out last September. They reflected on making their first appearance as an openly trans person during the team's opening Olympics match against host Japan last month.

"First openly trans Olympian to compete," they wrote on Instagram. "I don't know how to feel. 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. I feel optimistic for change. Change in legislature. Changes in rules, structures and mindsets."

"The fight isn't close to over… and I'll celebrate when we're all here," they added. 

Friday's victory was also historic for Canada as a country, which claimed its first Olympic gold in soccer — men's or women's. En route to the final match, Canada defeated rival Team USA, their first win against them since 2001. The team previously won bronze in 2012 and 2016.

(In 2017, CBSN Originals explored the intricate world of gender, beyond him or her, in "Gender - The Space Between." Watch the documentary in the player below.)

Gender: The Space Between 30:54
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