American pairs skater Timothy LeDuc made history not once but twice this week when he became the first non-binary athlete to be on a Winter Olympic team and broke a US figure skating championship record. with his partner Ashley Cain-Gribble.
The duo scored 79.39 points for their short program, which is set to “The White Crow,” a piece from the biopic of the same name. Although LeDuc and Cain-Gribble struggled with the program earlier in the season, the skaters performed in perfect unison at the Nationals in Nashville, starting with a triple twist that commentator and two-time Olympian Johnny Weir described. as “perfect”.
The duo held a two-point lead at the start of the free skate and delivered a solid performance to clinch their second national team title with a score of 145.84. LeDuc and Cain-Gribble nailed their side-to-side triple loops at the top of their routine, executed their lifts with ease, and rebounded with a dizzying triple salchow toss after Cain-Gribble doubled a jump that was to be a triple to halfway through the performance.
LeDuc and Cain-Gribble, who were also national champions in 2019, will represent the U.S. team in Beijing next month along with 14 other skaters. Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier were named as the second pair, although they did not compete in Nashville after Frazier tested positive for COVID-19. Although they were unable to compete, the duo were still eligible for selection to the Olympic team through a petition process and secured their ticket to China by presenting solid work in previous competitions.
At the Tokyo Games this summer, American skateboarder Alana Smith and Canadian soccer player Quinn, who won a gold medal, became the first non-binary Olympians in history.