For the first time in her career, Amber Glenn is her US figure skating champion.
Having finished on the podium several times at nationals in the past, including a third-place finish last year, her overall score of 210.46 was enough to finally get Glenn the gold medal. This was her sixth appearance at the US Championships.
Glenn's victory makes her the first LGBTQ+ skater to win the U.S. women's title.
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“Being the first openly gay women’s champion is incredible,” Glenn said. “When I originally came out, I was terrified and afraid it would affect my grades or something, but I didn't care. It was worth it, over the last couple of years, the amount of young people who feel more comfortable in their environments on the rink.”
Josephine Lee took silver with 204.13 points, but Isabeau Levito was neck-and-neck with Glenn, who followed behind him. Short Thursday programs. Levitow was sitting in first place coming into the free skate, and Glenn was less than half a point behind in second. Neither of them gave their best performance on Friday evening.
While Glenn was able to execute her triple Axel early in the program, there were some missing elements later in the performance that cost her points.
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“I was disappointed in myself again because I know I could have done more and trusted myself to do more in the second half,” Glenn said. “Going from that, feeling like my success was fading, to realizing I had it, was a mixture of happiness, of course. It wasn't exactly the way I wanted to get my first national title but I'm incredibly happy. Grateful for it.”
As Levitow prepared to conclude the event, there was a chance for her to walk away as national champion for the second year in a row. However, Levito struggled from the start of her skate, suffering two falls that resulted in a four-point deduction and a third-place finish.
“This evening felt like a fever dream,” Levitow said. “It was very difficult, trying to defend the title, and I think when I first made that mistake, it kind of woke me up.”
The audience was treated to another piece of history within the women's free skating program during Mia Kalin's performance earlier in the event. Although she did not finish on the podium, the 15-year-old became the first woman to cleanly land a quadruple jump (a four-turn skill, also known as a “quadruple”) at the US Championships.
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Men's short program
Ilya Malinin He put himself in perfect position to defend his 2023 title, scoring 108.57 points in the short program on Friday.
Malinin finished nearly 20 points better than second-place skater Maxim Naumov, who at 89.72 points, posted the largest lead in US Figure Skating Championships history after the short entry portion of the men's event.
Despite the lack of a quad Axel, a move that put Malinen in the record books in 2022, the 19-year-old still holds the title of 'Quadple God' by pulling off two other quad skills.
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“The fans who come here, some of them fly or drive a long way here to watch us skate,” Malinin said. “We have a lot of respect for them. For us, trying to do our best for them is really a way to show that.”
Jason Brown, the former Olympic champion and 2015 U.S. champion, was a crowd favorite on the men's side. The 29-year-old didn't have his best short program in Columbus, as he was deducted one point for a fall, dropping him to third place, but no stranger to bumps in the road, the veteran remained positive after his performance.
“I love the US Championship,” Brown said. “It feels like a homecoming every time I come back year after year. As far as my performance, I felt great out there. Obviously it's not ideal to start, you know, on your ass, but I love fighting to the end.”
The next two events to be crowned champion will be ice dancing and pairs, both with their longer programs on Saturday.
This article originally appeared on the Columbus Dispatch: Figure skater Amber Glenn is the first LGBTQ+ woman to win a U.S. title
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