Timothy LeDuc of Cedar Rapids has been dreaming of skating in the Olympics since he was a little kid. He says he used to tape U.S. Olympic figure skating on his VCR. He would re-watch it with his younger sister Leah until the tapes wore out. This year, he is an alternate for the U.S. figure skating pairs team with his partner, Ashley Cain.
During this Talk of Iowa interview, LeDuc talks with host Charity Nebbe about how he got his start skating in Iowa and his decision to speak out in support of other gay athletes in the run up to the 2018 Olympic games.
"Some people may say, oh a gay figure skater, that's not very ground breaking," LeDuc laughs. "But, being an openly gay athlete in sports is a rarity. It's becoming more accepted, and you're seeing more of it. But I did face some difficult homophobic interactions throughout my career."
"People conflate gay men with being weak or not strong, and you know, that was a really difficult challenge to overcome. But like anything in this sport, you get up and you dust yourself off," he continues. "As a gay man, and as someone who has been fortunate to have a strong support system, I see it as my responsibility to be open and to do what I can to help the next generation of people coming up who need a beacon."
At a recent performance at the 2018 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, LeDuc and Cain skated to a song written and performed by Leah LeDuc. The track is titled "Get Up" and was inspired by Timothy's experience as a gay athlete, and Cain's experience being body shamed for her height.
Leah LeDuc also joins this Talk of Iowa conversation.
Watch the LeDuc's and Cain's performance to "Get Up."