Beijing Winter Olympics 2022: Timothy LeDuc becomes the first-ever non-binary Olympian to compete in the Winter Games

American, Timothy LeDuc made history on Friday as the first openly non-binary Olympian to compete in the Beijing Winter Olympics 2022.

Pritha Ghosh
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Beijing Winter Olympics 2022 | Timothy LeDuc |

When Timothy LeDuc and Ashley Cain-Gribble walked to the ice as a pair, they made history as the first publicly nonbinary winter Olympians at the Beijing Winter Olympics 2022. In their first appearance, they finished in seventh place.

Beijing Winter Olympics 2022 | Timothy LeDuc |

Source: Pehal News

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So, what exactly is the meaning of a 'Non-binary' athlete?

Being non-binary in the sense of gender means not identifying as either a man or a woman. It expresses a rejection of the notion that there are two genders: man and woman. Some civilizations do not employ a gender binary, despite the fact that most do. Meanwhile, the presence of a third gender has been officially recognised in India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh. In the context of athletes competing in competitive sports events, the term "non-binary" has the same meaning as in other gender situations.

Beijing Winter Olympics 2022 | Timothy LeDuc |

Source: Outsports

Many sporting tournaments demand contestants to fit neatly into either "man" or "woman" categories. Thus, It makes it particularly difficult for non-binary people to compete. However, keeping all these restrictions and taboos behind, Timothy LeDuc became the first-ever non-binary Olympian in figure skating to compete in the Beijing Winter Olympics 2022.

Basically, in these cases, instead of using "he" or "she" to refer to anyone, you use "they." You use "them" instead of "he" or "her" when you would normally use "him" or "her." However, when it comes to the pronouns, LeDuc uses gender-neutral pronouns. These are "they" and "them".

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LeDuc's reaction after becoming the first-ever non-binary Olympian to compete in the Beijing Winter Olympics 2022

Participating in a sport where the typical male-female dynamic is often openly displayed has been challenging for LeDuc and their pairs partner Ashley Cain-Gribble, who has complained about being "body-shamed" as a freakishly tall female skater.

At the Beijing Games, the pair skated to a season-best score of 74.13 in the short programme. Afterwards, LeDuc stated, "It was such a joyous moment for us out there today. I think both Ashley and I have had to overcome so many different things so many times when people have told us no or that we don't belong."

Beijing Winter Olympics 2022 | Timothy LeDuc |

Source: The Gazette

After finishing seventh in the short programme, the duo will compete in the final free skate on Saturday.

"Both Ashley and I, we had something to prove today. I hope people watching us feel like maybe there is space for them to come into figure skating. And for them to be able to celebrate what makes them unique and different," they went on to add.

"I know for me, people who are non-binary, it's only possible because amazing queer people have come before me and laid the groundwork for me. And so now I want to do that for others to come after as well," LeDuc concluded.

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Furthermore, The American figure skater in pairs aspires to pave the path for others to participate in the sport without being limited by gender prejudices.

As per LGBTQ+ news site Outsports, a record number of publicly LGBTQ+ athletes are participating in the Winter Olympics — at least 36, or double the amount from Pyeongchang in 2018. Also, the first openly transgender and non-binary Olympians competed in the Tokyo Summer Games last year.

2022 Beijing Winter Olympics Timothy Leduc