2023 U.S. Figure Skating Championships scores, results
SAN JOSE, California – With a calm command that belies her age, Isabeau Levito took control of US women’s skating at the age of 15.
Levito came here as the clear favorite to claim her first national title and she did it with a seemingly effortless grace, her balletic style producing solid winning performances in both Thursday’s short program and Friday’s free skate.
She was the last of 18 skaters in the freestyle, trailing rivals who made mistakes big and small. Levito didn’t need perfection, but her skating came close, even though the execution of some jumps could have been better.
Levito left no doubt about their superiority and broke into a big smile even before the results were announced. After a narrow win Brady Tennell (0.02 points) in the short program, Levito (223.33) ended up 10.21 points ahead of second-placed Tennell (213.12).
Amber Glenn He was third with 207.44. She, Levito and Tennell will fill the three women’s spots on the US team for March’s World Championships in Japan.
FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Complete Results | broadcast schedule
Two of the three US figure skaters on the 2022 Olympic team have announced their retirements (Alysa Liu and Mary Bell; Karen Chen is a student at Cornell University and may not return). Given that and Tennell’s recurring injury woes, Levito’s status as America’s leading woman seemed assured. The pressure she felt to hold that position wasn’t obvious.
“My only goal for both programs was to really stay composed and really try to keep my nerves down as much as possible and really not allow for little silly mistakes,” Levito said. “I feel like I did just that today and I’m very proud of it.”
“I’ve become very good at suppressing nerves,” she said after the short show. “I still feel the effects of the competition. But I find my own way of dealing with it.”
For both Tennell and Glenn, there was a redeeming quality to their skating.
Neither had a result at last year’s national championships. Glenn was forced to withdraw after the short program when she tested positive for COVID. Tennell never made it to the event because of a foot injury that kept her out of contention throughout last season.
“Honestly, it was terrifying to be back here after my season ended last year,” Glenn said. “That was a big mental hurdle for me, but I was glad that I actually had fun and enjoyed competing again.”
Glenn made her the 10thth Career attempt at a triple axel stepping out of the landing after receiving full rotation credit. Her persistence in attempting that jump, which she never landed cleanly, is one of the reasons she held her hip after completing the freestyle. Glenn insisted it was just sore muscles.
“An unfortunate side effect of being 23 and doing these extreme (difficult) elements is that my body doesn’t always keep up very well,” Glenn said.
Tennell, who turns 25 on Tuesday, has been battling a right foot injury for more than a year and a left foot injury since October. She fought past all of that to finish on the podium for the fifth time in her last five national teams – twice first, twice second and once third.
“This one probably means the most because I didn’t think I’d do it again,” Tennell said. “To be here and to have made it, especially after my (poor) start to the season and the bumps I had to overcome, I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved.”
Levito, the reigning junior world champion, reeled off seven triple jumps, two of them in combination with other triple jumps. She glided seamlessly from element to element.
“I finally rode as freely as I trained to,” she said.
Philip Hersh, who covered figure skating at the last 12 Winter Olympics, is a special contributor to NBCSports.com.
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