American figure skater Timothy LeDuc is set to become the first openly non-binary athlete to compete at an Olympic Winter Games.
US Figure Skating announced Saturday that 31-year-old LeDuc has been paired with Ashley Cain-Gribble to compete in Beijing in February.
“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,’” LeDuc said during a news conference Saturday, according to NBC Sports.
“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.”
In 2019, LeDuc became the first openly gay athlete to win gold in a US pairs’ event, according to the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee.
Cain-Gribble and LeDuc are the 2019 and 2022 US champions and will make their first Olympic appearance next month.
“I think we want to dedicate these performances and this title to all the people that felt like they didn’t belong – or were told that they didn’t belong – in this sport,” Cain-Gribble said during the news conference. “Many times we were told that, even when we teamed up.”
Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier will join LeDuc and Cain-Gribble as the other pairs team that will represent the US in Beijing.
The two pairs “join previously nominated athletes Mariah Bell, Karen Chen and Alysa Liu on the 2022 US Olympic Figure Skating Team,” US Figure Skating said in a news release.
The games are scheduled to take place from February 4 to 20 in Beijing. Beijing, which played host to the Summer Olympics in 2008, is the first city ever to host both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games.