Defending Champion Isabeau Levito Holds Slim Lead at U.S. Figure Skating Championships

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Isabeau Levito, the defending champion, holds a narrow lead of just four tenths of a point over Amber Glenn after the short program at the Prevagen U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Levito, 16 years old, showcased a new program and earned a score of 75.38 points, which included a triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination. Despite a slight stumble in her closing spin, Levito managed to maintain her lead due to the difficulty level of her jumps. She expressed her satisfaction with the performance, stating that she pushed herself to not hold back and just go for it.

Amber Glenn, a past U.S. silver and bronze medalist, is aiming for her first gold in her ninth senior nationals. Clare Seo, the 2022 U.S. junior champion, currently holds third place, but she is significantly further behind Glenn by 7.57 points. The free skate will take place on Friday and will be aired live on NBC Sports and Peacock.

Glenn, 24 years old, expressed her excitement after a strong performance, highlighting the hard work she has put into her training. The competition will determine the two women who will represent the United States at the world championships in Montreal in March. Ava Ziegler, who won a Grand Prix event in November, is also a contender for a spot, although she will not be participating in the nationals as she focuses on the upcoming Four Continents Championships in China. The final decision regarding the team composition may be made after the Four Continents event.

Levito’s meteoric rise in the figure skating world began when she finished third in her senior nationals debut in 2022 at the age of 14. Due to her young age, she was not eligible to compete in the Olympics. However, she quickly established herself as the leading U.S. woman after all three Olympic team members retired from competition later that year. Last season, Levito claimed the national title and achieved a fourth-place finish at the world championships. This marked the best performance by a U.S. woman in her senior global championships debut since 1991.

Glenn, on the other hand, secured the silver medal at the 2021 Nationals and won bronze in 2023. Unfortunately, she had to withdraw from the 2022 Nationals, which determined the Olympic team, due to a COVID-19 illness. She spoke about her journey and expressed her determination to continue improving, especially considering that the next Olympics are only two years away.

In the ice dance category, Madison Chock and Evan Bates took the lead in the rhythm dance segment. The duo, aiming for their fifth national title, achieved a score of 92.17 points, giving them a substantial 8.98-point advantage over Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko. Chock and Bates had a successful undefeated season in 2023, becoming the oldest U.S. ice dance champions in at least 50 years and the oldest world champions ever in the event. They are now just one title away from matching the record of six U.S. ice dance titles held by Meryl Davis and Charlie White, the 2014 Olympic gold medalists.

In the pairs category, Emily Chan and Spencer Howe led the short program but unfortunately had to withdraw from the competition due to Howe’s ongoing recovery from shoulder surgery. Despite their withdrawal, they remain eligible to be considered for one of the three U.S. pairs’ spots for the world championships if they file a petition with U.S. Figure Skating.

The U.S. Figure Skating Championships continues to captivate the audience with impressive performances and fierce competition. The skaters’ performances in this event could potentially shape the composition of the U.S. team for future international competitions.