COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Amber Glenn won her first U.S. figure skating title on Friday night when defending champion Isabeau Levito fell three times during her own free skate.
That dropped the 16-year-old to third place and allowed Glenn to win the gold medal after mistakes in her own program. Glenn finished with a score of 210.46, while Josephine Lee jumped into second place and Levito was third.
Glenn identifies as the first openly queer woman to win a U.S. Figure Skating Title and could not be more proud of the moment. After years of competition, the emotion of winning finally was truly an emotional and surreal moment for the athlete.
"Yeah, I mean, it is so bittersweet having been through what I have over the last like ten years. I think as a senior, figure skating we usually have very young champions. So to be in my mid-twenties and to have my first national championship win and being very open about my rollercoaster of a ride of a career the amount of people that have said I've inspired them has made this so much more special," said Glenn upon her return to Colorado Springs Monday.
According to US Figure Skating, Glenn was last time standing at the top of the podium at the age of 14 after taking first at the U.S. Junior Championships. Glenn took home the bronze medal at the 2023 U.S. Championship after defending champion Isabeau Levito took home gold last year.
Glenn, a Texas native who trains in Colorado Springs, caught up with News 5 on her return home from competition this weekend and spoke as to what it means to break barriers and be a leader for LGBTQ+ athletes after coming out during the 2020 season according to NBC.
"I mean it means a lot, because I wish I had that representation when I was younger. You know, we've luckily have had some great people that have carved the way for me like Johnny Weir, Adam Rippon, and Jason Brown. We have these incredible athletes, even internationally," said Glenn.
"But I didn't really grow up having that person, that female skater that I could relate to. It took me a long time to feel comfortable in my environment and with the people around me. To hear that being a top athlete and being queer at the same time has made younger athletes feel like they're more accepted, or like things are more possible and they don't have to hide who they are. It's the whole reason why I've kept going."
NBC Sports said, Amber Glenn almost walked away from figure skating in 2022 after a forced withdrawal from the 2022 Nationals after testing positive for COVID-19.
Fresh off the win, the athlete has no plans of slowing down as she returns to Olympic City to continue her training as she prepares for the World Championships in Montreal scheduled for March 18 - 24.
"It's a really important event because it will decide how many female slots we get for a home world in Boston in 2025," said Glenn.
Glenn credits part of the reason her career has skyrocketed can be attributed to the beauty and conditions the mountains provide during her training, along with resources like the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs h.
In the men's competition, the “Quad God” Ilia Malinin scored 108.57 points to take the biggest lead after a short program under the current scoring system in national history.
Max Naumov was a distant second with 89.72 points and Jason Brown was third.
AP Sportswriter Dave Skretta contributed to this report.
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