Chris Mosier is making grand strides in his career — figuratively and literally. The first transgender athlete to make the U.S. men’s national team has also just become the first transgender athlete to appear in a Nike commercial.
The advertisement aired Monday night as part of the “Nike Unlimited Campaign” which features a series of athletic shorts aimed at spotlighting the most dedicated, inspiring and hardworking athletes.
Nike’s ground breaking “Unlimited Courage” commercial shows Mosier training and competing in races as he’s asked a series of questions: “How’d you know you’d be fast enough to compete against men?” “Or strong enough?” “How’d you know the team would accept you?” “That you’d be allowed to compete?”
To every question he breaks the fourth wall and answers, “I didn’t.”
Mosier began his transition in 2010 and landed a spot on the Team USA sprint duathlon men’s team for the 2016 World Championships, according to Human Rights Campaign.
"Everything that I've done in the last five, six years since I started to transition, has been with [a] 'Just Do It' mindset," Mosier said in a statement. "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. By not stopping myself, not limiting myself and just really going for it, I've learned a lot about myself and also had the opportunity to further the conversation on trans inclusion in sports."
After qualifying for Team USA in 2015, Mosier contacted the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Triathlon Union to make sure that policies related to transgender athletes wouldn’t prevent him from competing. Although the IOC ruled earlier this year in January that transgender athletes can compete in the Olympics regardless of whether they’ve received gender reassignment surgery, Mosier will only compete at the World Championships because duathlon is not an Olympic sport.
"Being the first trans man on a U.S. men's national team was a dream come true for me. I always wanted my name on a jersey. To represent our country at the highest level, in my sport, is just outstanding. It’s just such an amazing opportunity — and an amazing opportunity for other people to see themselves reflected in someone succeeding in sports as a trans man,” Mosier told Nike.
A handful of Olympic athletes have also been featured in Nike’s “Unlimited” campaign, including Ashton Eaton, Serena Williams and Simone Biles.