Nathan Tom, First Openly Straight Male Figure Skater, Signs With Olympic Practice Squad
After his strong showing at the 2014 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships in January, figure-skating sensation Nathan Tom has signed with the Team USA Olympic practice squad.
Tom has unequivocally stated that his goal is to become the first openly straight male figure skater in U.S. Olympic history.
Tom, a 25-year-old former U.S. Army tank commander from Provo, Utah, will join Team USA’s 10-skater Olympic practice squad on Friday, according to U.S. Figure Skating Executive Director Joan Chong.
“I’m excited to be headed to the practice squad and it’s just great to keep skating,” Tom said. “Since I quit my job as a lumberjack, everything has been crazy. It’s awesome, though. I just want to skate as long as I can.”
A fellow member of the Team USA Olympic practice squad, Chett Branson, said he believes Tom will fit in with no problems.
“Everybody on this squad is like a family,” Branson said. “We drink wine together. We see musical theater together. No one is going to criticize a teammate because of his sexual orientation. If he can help us bring home the gold in 2018, then I am eager to skate right beside him.”
Tom, the 2013 U.S. Figure Skating Skater of the Year, is best known for his virtual sweep of the awards at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Boston.
Thanks to a dazzling octuple camel spin immediately followed by a crowd-pleasing, very risky five-rotation axel, Tom skated away with the men’s championship by a wide margin.
He and his pairs partner, Tatiana Horvath-Futas, similarly crushed the competition in the pairs championship. The dancing couple featured a series of lightning fast “death spirals” up and down the ice to wow the judges. They also used a reworked, operatic version of Megadeth’s “The Skull Beneath the Skin” to great theatrical effect.
The 2018 Winter Olympics is scheduled to take place in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Tom is widely expected to be a shoo-in. He has already announced that he plans to take his entire family to the Olympic Games.
Tom and his wife, Esther, have two sons, Jake and Gunner. The couple is expecting twins in December.