Team USA's Pairs Skaters Finish Competition in Sixth and Eighth Place, China Takes Gold

China's Wenjing Sui and Cong Han won gold, finishing with a total score of 239.88 — just barely ahead of the silver medal team from Russia

Timothy LeDuc and Ashley Cain-Gribble
Timothy LeDuc and Ashley Cain-Gribble. Photo: Elsa/Getty Images

After heading into the free skate in sixth and seventh place, Team USA's two pairs teams finished their Olympic journeys on Saturday.

Figure skating pairs Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier finished the competition in sixth place, while Timothy LeDuc and Ashley Cain-Gribble came just behind them in eighth.

LeDuc and Cain-Gribble skated first of the Americans, performing to "W.E." by Abel Korzeniowski. With Cain-Gribble falling on their triple salchow, double toeloop, and double loop combination, they ended with a technical score of 59.74, and a total free skate program score of 123.92. They finished the competition with a total points score of 198.05.

Knierim and Frazier then performed their free skate to "Fix You" by Fearless Soul and Coldplay in coordinating purple. They earned a 138.45 for their powerful skate, making their combined score with the short program a 212.68. It left them briefly in the lead.

China's Wenjing Sui and Cong Han won gold, finishing with a total score of 239.88 — just barely ahead of the silver medal team from Russia, Eugenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov, who had a total score of 239.25. The bronze went to the Russian Olympic Committee's Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov.

Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier
Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier. Elsa/Getty Images

Ahead of the Games, LeDuc and Cain-Gribble, 26, spoke with PEOPLE about their goals for the Games and their partnership journey, praising each other for their ongoing success.

"Timothy and I, we have a very open line of communication in our partnership," Cain-Gribble explained. "It's something that we've always wanted since the beginning. And we tried to lead our partnership with authenticity. ... We also are both very driven individuals. And so we know that the other one will always show up, even if we're not feeling 100%, but we'll always make that effort and respect each other's time."

LeDuc said they've "grown so much together, we have worked so hard. And it's just so fun to share this experience with somebody that I know wants it as badly as I do."

The 31-year-old athlete has made history this Games, becoming the first openly non-binary athlete to compete in the Winter Olympics. It's "exciting," they said, but not the story they want to be the focus.

"I'm hoping that people see the story, and instead the narrative turns to more broadly the progress that queer people are making," they said. "And hopefully, the message that this sends to young queer people, that I hope they feel like they can lead with authenticity and that they can enter their spaces, their sports, their school, and be authentically themselves. And not have to feel like they have to change themselves or adjust themselves in order to be successful or to be taken seriously."

Admitting that navigating a sport that is "very gendered" has been challenging and they're still truly figuring it out, LeDuc said they've excelled with Cain-Gribble's support: "She's been so helpful and so supportive as we both navigate this together."

To learn more about Team USA, visit Watch the Winter Olympics, now, and the Paralympics, beginning March 4, on NBC.

Updated by Adam Carlson
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