Timothy LeDuc and his pairs skating partner Ashley Cain are alternates to the U.S. Winter Olympics team, but they are skating like champions at an event in Asia.

LeDuc, who is openly gay, and Cain lead after the short program at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Taiwan. Their long program is Saturday.

Chad Conley, a former Canadian national team figure skater and also openly gay, told Outsports about LeDuc and Cain’s performance in Taiwan.

“The Four Continents Figure Skating Championships play host to skaters who do not skate for European countries. This gives an opportunity for skaters outside of the European continent a chance to be recognized.

“LeDuc and Cain skated to a very convincing first place in the short program. They were the only pairs team to do side-by-side triple loops and skated an error-free short program, which puts them four points ahead into the long program.

“If they LeDuc win this competition, it will give them the boost on the international scene next year, especially with the impending retirements of many top tier teams after the Olympics.”

In discussing why he has gone public about being gay, LeDuc told Outsports:

“It may not be groundbreaking being a gay figure skater, but I want to use this platform I’ve been given in the most positive way I can. I know there are young boys and girls who need someone to voice who they are. I’m hoping some young boy or girl can watch me on TV and think, “OK maybe it is OK to be gay, maybe it is OK to be myself.’”

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