Figure skater Timothy LeDuc warms our hearts both on and off the ice

If you don’t know who Timothy LeDuc is, then allow us in break the ice: In February, skating alongside partner Ashley Cain-Gribble, LeDuc made history when they become the first-ever out nonbinary person to compete in the 2022 Winter Olympics.

However, that’s not the only thing the U.S. figure skater, who is openly gay and uses they/them pronouns, wants to be known for. 

“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,’” they told NBCSports in February.

“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.”

For LeDuc, they know none of their success would be possible without the help of others, they said.

“I know that me being here – and being able to be out now – is only possible because of the many great people who came before me. I stand on the shoulders of so many amazing queer people that have pushed their way through this sport, allowing me to be open now.”


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A post shared by Ashley Cain OLY (@icegirlash)

An Iowa native, LeDuc didn’t start ice skating until they were 13-years-old, according to Travel & Leisure

Years later, at the age of 18, LeDuc first told their parents that they were gay, which their parents did not take lightly. According to LeDuc, their reaction was, “We love you, but we need to change you.”

“At one point, one of my family members brought friends home from a church group, and they basically tried to perform an exorcism on me,” LeDuc recalled to the NBCLX podcast, My New Favorite Olympian. “They tried to cast my demons out and were praying on all sides of me, trying to remedy my, we called it, same-sex attraction.”

More than a decade later, LeDuc came out as nonbinary. Their parents are now supportive of LeDuc’s sexuality and gender identity, they told the podcast.

In 2016, LeDuc paired up with fellow solo skater, Ashley Cain-Gribble. Whenever they would compete, the duo would do everything they could to “prove that athletes shouldn’t be limited by their gender expression,” according to USA Today.

For example, during skating competitions, both skaters would display equal skating skills – performing many of the same moves, in unison, rather than filling stereotypical gender roles. LeDuc would also make a point to “portray elements of both masculinity and femininity” by having a beard and wearing makeup during competition, according to the pub.


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By taking such measures, Cain-Gribble and LeDuc hope to inspire the next generation of skaters. 

“We want people to look at our skating and know that they don’t have to change who they are in order to be a part of this sport, in order to do something that they’re passionate about,” Cain-Gribble told NBC Connecticut.

For LeDuc, it’s all about creating a safe space for future athletes. Off the ice, LeDuc is involved in an athlete mentorship program through the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s Athlete Advisory Council, where they counsels newcomers on how to navigate the world of sports, according to NBC News

“We are now trying to pass on that information to the young and up-and-coming skaters so that they can be even better athletes; so that they can have even better experiences in the sport and maybe they can avoid some of the obstacles that we all faced,” LeDuc said.

We are proud of LeDuc for living their truth, beyond the binary! They are proving to athletes everywhere that there really should be no shame in anyone’s game, regardless of gender or sexual expression. Not to mention, their commitment to the next generation of skaters is awe-inspiring. Welcome to the Pride 50, Timothy!


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Pride50Welcome to Queerty’s Pride50. We’re celebrating the members from our community who are responsible for some of the most inspiring and extraordinary moments for LGBTQ people over the last year. See all the honorees