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NASHVILLE — Early Sunday morning U.S. Figure Skating made official what was clearly obvious the previous night, that the pairs skating team of Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc that won the U.S. Figure Skating Championships held on Saturday will be going to the Beijing Olympics.
The announcement meant that LeDuc, who identifies as nonbinary, will become the first openly nonbinary Winter Olympian.
"It's really exciting but I hope that the narrative does not center 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," LeDuc said after the team announcement at Bridgestone Arena. "So often queer people have to adjust themselves and sacrifice authenticity to achieve success."
There were several athletes who openly identify as transgender and nonbinary at this past summer's Tokyo Olympics. New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard became the first openly transgender woman to compete at an Olympics, while another transgender woman, American BMX racer Chelsea Wolfe was in Tokyo as an alternate but did not compete. Canadian soccer midfielder Quinn also identifies as nonbinary, as does U.S. skateboarder Alana Smith.
“I hope that the narrative does not center 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.” — Timothy LeDuc, Cedar Rapids native and U.S. Figure Skating champion
Also going to Beijing will be the pairs team of Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier, who pulled out of the nationals on Wednesday night after Frazier tested positive for the coronavirus. As the United States' top pairs team, Knierim and Frazier were taken over Saturday's silver medalists Jessica Calalang and Brian Johnson, who were instead picked as alternates.
As expected, the top three finishers in the ice dance competition were named to the American team. Gold medal winners Madison Chock and Evan Bates, silver medalists Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue and bronze medalists Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker were all chosen. The gap between the Chock-Bates and Hubbell-Donohue teams is very small and both are medal hopefuls for the United States in Beijing.