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Meet Team USA's First Trans Athlete

Photo: Via @thechrismosier
The Olympic Games kicked off in Rio last week and as ever are serving as a reminder of just how strong and fearless professional athletes are. To compete at a national level in any sport is a feat of super-human determination, focus and sacrifice.

Imagine deciding as a child – as most world-class athletes do – to compete to be the best in the world. Now imagine making that decision whilst knowing you have been born the wrong sex. This is the story of Chris Mosier, the first openly transgender athlete ever to earn a spot on a U.S. National Team.

At just four years old, Mosier knew that his biological sex (female) and his gender identity (male) were irreconcilable.

For years, he competed as a female and when he graduated college, began to compete in triathlete and duathlete (the duathlon follows a run-bike-run format and is gruelling) professionally as a woman.

It was only after Mosier met his now wife that he began gender reassignment in 2010. Fast forward to 2016 and Mosier found himself making the cut for this year's Team USA at the sprint duathlon national championship – for the men's team.

Mosier told Rolling Stone, that it was at this point he knew that he had to make a critical decision."I knew that the minute I said, 'I'm a trans athlete,' that I would never get away from it," he says. "But I asked myself, 'Why does it matter?' Well, it matters because there was no one else out there saying it."

"We all want to see something we desire to be," he told Rolling Stone. "But I didn't have that model to look at and say, 'That's me. I could be like that someday.' So I either had to give up on knowing that someone like me could be competing at a high level or I had to do it myself. That's what really drives me – being the athlete that young trans athletes can look at and see themselves in."

Beyond beating his own personal bests, records and times, Mosier constantly faces new challenges. Coming up against America's bathroom bill that meant he couldn't use men's locker rooms or bathrooms, and against adapted rules for trans competitors, Mosier has never relented. Due to the stalled procession of regulatory amendments from the International Olympic Commission (IOC) from June 2015 until January 2016, trans-athletes could not compete nationally or internationally.

To honour Mosier's dedication to world-class sport and equal rights, Nike have made Mosier the star of their latest video campaign, 'Unlimited Courage.' The trailer actually aired for the first time during NBC's Olympic coverage last Monday night, and features Mosier talking directly to camera as he competes in each leg of his event.
The footage shows Mosier doing pull ups in the gym, topless in the locker room and running over Brooklyn Bridge (Mosier regularly runs the circumference of Manhattan.) As well as being about championing Mosier's bravery as a spokesperson for the trans community, the video is also a testament to Mosier's world-class athleticism.

“Being the first trans man on a U.S. men’s national team was a dream come true for me", he says, "Everything that I’ve done in the last five, six years since I started to transition, has been with a 'Just Do It' mindset. I didn’t know if I would be competitive against men; I just did it. Every success that I’ve had since then has shown me that anything is really possible.”