US figure skater becomes first non-binary athlete to qualify for Winter Olympics

Timothy DeLuc also became the first openly gay athlete to win gold at a US figure skating pairs event in 2019

Sarah Rendell
Tuesday 11 January 2022 16:16 GMT
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Timothy LeDuc, right, has qualified for the Winter Olympics alongside partner Ashley Cain-Gribble
Timothy LeDuc, right, has qualified for the Winter Olympics alongside partner Ashley Cain-Gribble (Getty Images)

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Timothy LeDuc has become the first non-binary athlete to qualify for the Winter Olympics after they were named as part of the US figure skating team.

LeDuc, alongside their partner Ashley Cain-Gribble, made the team after they wowed audiences at a qualifier in Nashville, Tennessee earlier this month.

The 31-year-old has said they hope their inclusion sees the narrative shift to “queer people can be open and successful”.

LeDuc, who began using they/them pronouns in 2021, said: “It’s really exciting, but I hope that the narrative does not centre around me and my journey and my accomplishments, but that the narrative switches to queer people having the opportunity to be open and be authentic to themselves and everything that makes them unique and still achieve in sport.

“So often, queer people have to adjust themselves and sacrifice authenticity to achieve success.

“My hope is that when people see my story, it isn’t focused on me and saying, ‘Oh, Timothy is the first out non-binary person to achieve this level of success in sport.

“My hope is that the narrative shifts more to, queer people can be open and successful in sports. We’ve always been here, we’ve always been a part of sports. We just haven’t always been able to be open.”

This isn’t the first time LeDuc has broken down barriers as they became the first openly gay athlete to win gold at a US figure skating pairs event in 2019.

The 2022 Winter Olympics are set tot take place in Beijing and begin on 4 February.

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