Timothy LeDuc, a figure skater who identifies as non-binary, and partner Ashley Cain-Gribble won the pairs event at the 2022 U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Jan. 9 in Nashville, MSN.com reported.
This was their second time winning the eventand it earned them a trip to the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February. LeDuc is the first non-binary athlete to compete on a Winter Olympics team.
There were two pairs spots available for the U.S. in the Olympics, and 2021 national champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier secured the other. They had to withdraw from this year's championships because Frazier tested positive for COVID-19. Knierim is the only member of the team with Olympic experience and the first U.S. pairs' skater to return to an Olympics in 20 years, according to NBC Sports.
In the men's category, queer skater Jason Brown also qualified for the team after finishing fourth at the championships, The Denver Post noted. He joins six-time U.S. champion Nathan Chen, who won the 2022 national title, and Vincent Zhou, who finished third. Ilia Malinin, 17who finished second in his very first senior competitionwas picked as first alternate despite completing several quad jumps during the national contest.
In the women's category, Mariah Bell became the oldest champion (at 25) in 95 years, while Karen Chen was runner-up. They were both named to the U.S. Olympic team, along with 16-year-old Alysa Liu, who successfully petitioned for a spot. (Liu had to withdraw from competition after testing positive for COVID-19.)
In the dance category, Madison Chock and Evan Bates edged longtime rivals Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue to take the gold. Both teams made the U.S. Olympic team, along with Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker.