Running Up That Hill

College Runner Nico Young Comes Out

College star runner Nico Young has come out as gay on Instagram. Young is a junior at Northern Arizona University and has broken records in 5k events for cross-country and track and field. Now he is breaking the silence on who he is.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Nico Young (@nico__young__)

“Hi, I’m Nico, and I’m gay,” Young wrote. “This may come as a shock to some of you, but this is something I have always known and have finally decided to share with the world. I like guys, not girls.”

Young described the hardships he went through on the path to self-acceptance. “Anyone who tells you that being gay is a choice is wrong,” he said. “I am living proof that it is not a choice, it is something I have always known and been aware of, but have kept silent out of fear of rejection. I have struggled to accept myself, but I am becoming more proud and happy with who I am.

“I have realized that the only reason I never liked this part of who I am was because of what society has told me, not because of how I actually feel. This is a quality of myself as well as so many other people that should be accepted and celebrated just the same as a straight person’s identity is.”

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Nico Young (@nico__young__)

For the future, Young hopes he can be a voice for other queer people facing similar struggles. “I want and hope to be a representative and advocate for others like me,” he wrote. “I want anyone who is struggling with who they are to know that you are never alone, and that the people who truly matter to you will always be there to love and support you. If people choose to walk out of your life because of who you are, then they never deserved to be in your life in the first place.

“My name is Nico Young and I’m proud to be gay!”

Other athletes came out in support of Young’s announcement. “I’m proud of you Nico!!” commented NCAA champion Talitha Diggs. “Amazed at the power and strength you put into this.”

“So happy for you Nico!!!” wrote trans/nonbinary runner and Pride5k founder Nikki Hiltz. “‘Those who mind won’t matter and those who matter won’t mind.’”

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Nico Young (@nico__young__)

As early as high school, Young demonstrated immense promise as an athlete, breaking the 2k and 3k records for indoor events. In 2019, he was a California state champion and won National Gatorade Player of the Year for both cross-country and track and field. Earlier this year, he placed third for 5k at the ​​NCAA track and field championship. Now that the closet is out of his way, we can only expect there’s an even brighter road ahead of him.

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