American pair skater Timothy LeDuc made history not once but twice this week when they became the first out nonbinary athlete to make a Winter Olympic team and broke a U.S. Figure Skating Championships record with partner Ashley Cain-Gribble.
The pair earned 79.39 points for their short program, which is set to “The White Crow,” a piece from the biographical film of the same name. Though LeDuc and Cain-Gribble had struggled with the program earlier in the season, the skaters performed in perfect unison at the national championships in Nashville, opening with a triple twist that commentator and two-time Olympian Johnny Weir described as “picture perfect.”
The pair held a two-point lead entering the free skate, and they delivered a solid performance to claim their second national title as a team with a score of 145.84. LeDuc and Cain-Gribble nailed their side-by-side triple loops at the top of their program, executed their lifts with ease and rebounded with a sky-high throw triple salchow after Cain-Gribble doubled a jump that was meant to be a triple midway through the performance.
LeDuc and Cain-Gribble, who were also national champions in 2019, will represent Team USA in Beijing next month along with 14 other skaters. Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier were named as the second pair, though they did not compete in Nashville after Frazier tested positive for COVID-19. Despite being unable to compete, the pair was still eligible for Olympic team selection through a petition process and earned their ticket to China by showcasing a strong body of work in previous competitions.
At the Tokyo Games this summer, U.S. skateboarder Alana Smith and Canadian soccer player Quinn, who won a gold medal, became the first out nonbinary Olympians ever.