Timothy LeDuc is on the brink of becoming the first-ever out non-binary athlete to compete in the Winter Olympics.
With the US Figure Skating Championships taking place this week, LeDuc could be about to skate their way straight to Beijing this winter.
Should the Iowa native join Team USA for the Winter Olympics, their achievement will go down in history – regardless of how they perform.
Speaking on NBC Sports’ ‘My New Favorite Olympian’ podcast, LeDuc said that it’s not something they take lightly.
“For me, as a person that exists and really thrives outside of the binary, it can be very complicated sometimes,” they explained. “There are going to be the people that don’t understand it or would be very quick to push me back into the box of, you know, they look at me, they see that I have a beard or they look at maybe my physical characteristics and say, ‘You’re a boy. Act like a boy. What are you doing?’”
Shortly after turning 18, LeDuc told their evangelical Christian parents that they are gay, followed by coming out as non-binary roughly 10 years later.
The athlete opened up about what a rocky road this was, as one relative “basically tried to perform an exorcism on me” to change their sexuality.
I could live in these moments forever ☺️ we trained so hard for this and we are so happy that in the end we were able to show that. Goals accomplished and excited to get back to work for Japan!
Thank you for the endless support!
— Ashley Cain-Gribble (@icegirlash) October 31, 2021
Despite this, they added that their family now fully embraces their identity and they found comfort through their skating career.
Teamed up with their skating partner, Ashley Cain-Gribble of Texas, Ashley said the duo “never wanted to be what was looked at as the traditional team.”
“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.”
Listen to the full episode below or by clicking here.