Sun. Feb 25th, 2024

For the first time in her senior career, Amber Glenn is the U.S. women’s figure skating champion.

Having finished on the podium multiple 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. It was her sixth U.S. championship appearance.

Glenn’s victory makes her the first openly LGBTQ+ skater to win the U.S. women’s title.

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“Being the first openly queer women’s champion is incredible,” Glenn said. “When I came out originally, I was terrified and I was scared it would affect my scores or something, but I didn’t care. It was worth it to see, over the last couple of years, the amount of young people that feel more comfortable in their environments at the rink.”

From left, second-place finisher Josephine Lee, first-place Amber Glenn and third-place Isabeau Levito take the podium at the 2024 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.From left, second-place finisher Josephine Lee, first-place Amber Glenn and third-place Isabeau Levito take the podium at the 2024 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

From left, second-place finisher Josephine Lee, first-place Amber Glenn and third-place Isabeau Levito take the podium at the 2024 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Josephine Lee grabbed the silver medal with a 204.13 overall score, but it was Isabeau Levito who was neck-and-neck with Glenn following Thursday’s short programs. Levito was sitting in first coming into the free skate, and Glenn was less than a half a point behind in second. Neither had their best performance Friday evening.

While Glenn was able to execute her triple axel early in the program, there were a few missed elements later in the performance that cost her points.

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“I was just disappointed in myself again because I know that I could have brought a bit more and trusted myself to do a bit more in that second half,” Glenn said. “To go from that, feeling like my success was slipping away, to realizing that I had it, it was a mixture of happiness, of course. This wasn’t exactly how I wanted to get my first national title but I’m incredibly thankful for it.”

Amber Glenn's composite score of 210.46 won her the gold medal at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.Amber Glenn's composite score of 210.46 won her the gold medal at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Amber Glenn’s composite score of 210.46 won her the gold medal at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

With Levito lined up to close out the event, there was an opening for her to walk out as the national champion for the second year in a row. From the beginning of her skate, however, Levito struggled, and she suffered a couple falls that led to a deduction of four points and a third-place finish.

“This evening kind of felt like a fever dream,” Levito said. “It was so tough going in, trying to defend the title, and I think when I first made that mistake, it kind of woke me up.”

Isabeau Levito skates out for the women's medal ceremony, where she received bronze, at the 2024 U.S. Figure Skating Championships at Nationwide Arena.Isabeau Levito skates out for the women's medal ceremony, where she received bronze, at the 2024 U.S. Figure Skating Championships at Nationwide Arena.

Isabeau Levito skates out for the women’s medal ceremony, where she received bronze, at the 2024 U.S. Figure Skating Championships at Nationwide Arena.

That crowd was treated to another bit of history within the women’s free skate program during Mia Kalin’s performance earlier in the event. Although she didn’t finish on the podium, the 15-year-old became the first woman to cleanly land a quadruple jump (a skill with four turns, also known as a “quad”) at the U.S. Championships.

During competition at Nationwide Arena, Mia Kalin became the first woman to cleanly land a quadruple jump at the U.S. Championships.During competition at Nationwide Arena, Mia Kalin became the first woman to cleanly land a quadruple jump at the U.S. Championships.

During competition at Nationwide Arena, Mia Kalin became the first woman to cleanly land a quadruple jump at the U.S. Championships.

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Men’s Short Program

Ilia Malinin put himself in perfect position to defend his 2023 title, scoring a 108.57 in the short program on Friday.

Finishing almost 20 points better than the second-place skater Maxim Naumov, who totaled 89.72 points, Malinin recorded the largest lead in U.S. Figure Skating Championship history after the short programs portion of the men’s event.

Though there was no quad axel, the move that put Malinin in the record books in 2022, the 19-year-old still lived up to his “quad god” nickname by executing two other quad skills.

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“The audience coming out here, some of them are flying or driving a long way here to really watch us skate,” Malinin said. “We just have a lot of appreciation for them. … For us to try to perform our best in front of them, is really sort of way to show that.”

Ilia Malinin garnered an almost 20-point lead after the men's short program during the 2024 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.Ilia Malinin garnered an almost 20-point lead after the men's short program during the 2024 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Ilia Malinin garnered an almost 20-point lead after the men’s short program during the 2024 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Jason Brown, the former Olympian and 2015 U.S. champion, was another fan favorite from the men’s side. The 29-year-old didn’t have his best short program in Columbus, having one point deducted for a fall, which landed him in third place, but no stranger to road bumps, the veteran remained positive after his performance.

“I love the US championships,” Brown said. “It just feels like a homecoming every time I get to 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 butt, but I love the fight to the end.”

Jason Brown gets ready for his performance in the men's short program during the 2024 U.S. Figure Skating Championships at Nationwide Arena.Jason Brown gets ready for his performance in the men's short program during the 2024 U.S. Figure Skating Championships at Nationwide Arena.

Jason Brown gets ready for his performance in the men’s short program during the 2024 U.S. Figure Skating Championships at Nationwide Arena.

The next two events that will crown their champion will be ice dance and pairs, both with their long programs on Saturday.

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Figure skater Amber Glenn first LGBTQ+ woman to win the U.S. title

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