Australian athlete Robyn Lambird made history over the weekend by earning the bronze medal in the women’s 100-meter T34 wheelchair sprint at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. This marks the first time an out non-binary athlete has medaled at the Paralympics, and they’re only the second non-binary person in history to medal at either the Olympics or Paralympics. (The first was Quinn, who took home the gold for Canada in Olympic women’s soccer at this year’s games.)
For Lambird, who finished just behind Hannah Cockroft and Kare Adenegan of Great Britain, it was the culmination of a lot of hard work, training, and dreaming. “It is my first (Paralympic) Games, it’s been almost a 10-year dream to be here and to win a medal among the best in the world… it’s awesome,” Lambird said after coming in third in their event. “I just want to show all the kids out there – with disabilities or not – if you have a dream, chase it... There’s always a way, and you can find it.”
Besides racing, Lambird, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at age 9, is also a model and disability rights activist. They have appeared in campaigns for designers and brands including Tommy Hilfiger, Bonds, Target, and ModiBodi. Their goal is to boost visibility for people with disabilities and shift society’s perceptions of sexuality. “Here, queer, and ready to remind you that disabled people are hot. And that mobility aids aren’t a sign of tragedy, they are a source of freedom, which is totally sexy!” Lambird wrote on Instagram.
In another Instagram post, Lambird thanked all the supporters who helped them throughout this “wild ride” to the Paralympics. “Words cannot describe my emotions, Bronze on my Paralympic debut,” wrote Lambird. “This isn’t over though, and [I] can’t bloody wait to see what’s next!”