Trust, dedication and grit: Texas figure skating pair glides toward Winter Olympics dream

China 2022

EULESS, Texas (KXAN) — Trust, dedication and grit. These are just a few things a figure skating pair just outside of Dallas have as they leave it all on the ice, hoping to make the U.S. Winter Olympics team heading to Beijing.

If two people were ever in sync, physically, emotionally and spiritually, it’d be Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc of Euless, Texas.

“It’s pretty amazing to have a partner that you can feel completely comfortable and 100% yourself with,” Cain-Gribble said.

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN – MARCH 25: Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc of US perform in Pairs Free Skating during ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Ericsson Globe on March 25, 2021 in Stockholm, Sweden. (Photo: Linnea Rheborg/Getty Images)

This figure skating pair’s relationship is six years in the making. Their connection off the ice is just as strong.

“Oh, the best,” Cain-Gribble said jokingly.

“To put you on the spot,” LeDuc responded.

All jokes aside, the two know they have to be in tune with each other to be successful.

“We always speak to each other about our feelings,” LeDuc said. “We always remind each other of what our goals are, what we’re doing — really just becoming the athletes and skaters we’ve always wanted to be.”

They don’t have to say anything at all to make you feel. Their raw talent has slid them into victory, earning a national championship title, world championship qualifications and global recognition.

“We’re accomplishing our dreams together,” Cain-Gribble said.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JANUARY 16: Timothy LeDuc and Ashley Cain-Gribble competing in the pairs free skate program during the U.S. Figure Skating Championships at the Orleans Arena on Jan. 16, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo: Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

But there’s always a deeper story behind all great accomplishments.

“I suffered a concussion,” Cain-Gribble said.

She fell on her head coming down from a lift right before the 2019 National Championships. It affected her mentally as much as it did physically.

“When we’re doing something that is so incredibly hard and taxing mentally, sometimes you can put your self worth in this sport, and it can be really hard to see anything other than a bad skate,” Cain-Gribble said.

With Timothy by her side, the two persevered. In fact, they were able to win the 2019 national competition.

“I feel like, I can be able to say anything to Timothy and be heard and feel seen,” Cain-Gribble said.

LeDuc said he’s inspired by Cain-Gribble’s determination.

“I’m always amazed at her determination, her grit,” LeDuc said. “It’s something that inspires me on a daily basis to be able to push myself a little bit further — to maybe work, just a little bit harder.”

Their dreams are so close. Now, they’re just making sure they enjoy the process together.

“It’s such a fun opportunity to be able to pursue something that you love with someone who loves it just as much as you, and you get to share that experience,” LeDuc said.

The final qualifying competition for U.S. figure skating is Jan. 3-9.

Mcain-Gribble and LeDuc recently finished fourth at their second grand prix and earned a bronze medal in an international skate competition in Canada.

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