WKHS News | By Kilbourne, For Kilbourne

WKHS News | By Kilbourne, For Kilbourne

WKHS News | By Kilbourne, For Kilbourne

U.S. Figure Skating Championships


For the first time, Columbus Ohio was chosen to host the 2024 U.S. Figure Skating Championships at the Nationwide Arena. This annual event, often called nationals, is where over 180 skaters battle for gold. Back in November skaters competed in the national qualifier series to secure their spot in the championships. There are two levels, the senior, and the junior level. Each level consists of four divisions. Men’s singles, lady’s singles, pair skating, and ice dancing. Nationals lasted from January 22nd through January 28th, bringing people from all over the United States to Columbus, Ohio to see the best of the best.

Chelsea Liu and Balaza Nagy preparing for their pair skate

At this year’s nationals, the junior girls made history on multiple accounts. On January 25th fourteen year old, Sophie Joline became the first junior woman to land a triple axel at the U.S. championships. Although she didn’t win the division, her accomplishment does not go unrecognized and her name will now forever hold such history within this sport. 

Ava Oliver, an audience member at Nationals says “It was truly inspiring to see such a young person do such a tough and incredible thing. I can’t even skate in a straight line, then I see this girl go flying…it was truly humbling” Oliver goes on to say “When they announced that she [Sophie Joline] didn’t win I was shocked and honestly pretty upset. I felt like she deserved gold and was robbed of her first-place spot.” 

Another groundbreaking event that took place was Amber Glenn becoming the first openly queer woman to win a U.S. Women’s Figure Skating championship. Glenn stated in an interview with figure skating officials “I was terrified and I was scared that it [her sexuality] was going to affect my scores or something but I didn’t care, it was worth it.” Many on the internet believe that Sophie’s bravery will continue to inspire young figure skaters to be their most authentic selves without the worry of it taking a toll on their scores.

Although there were many inspiring moments throughout the week, there was also quite a big upset that can not go unnoticed. Senior skater, Isabeau Levito, the 2022 and 2023 champion was predicted to win her division this year with ease. however, Levito had an extremely rough free skate, causing her to fall to her close friend Amber Glenn. Levito was seen leaving the ice with tears streaming down her face, while the announcer called her performance a “disaster”. 

Audience member Diana Smith says “My heart aches for her. I have followed figure skating for

Isabeau Levito during her free skate

quite some time now and the pressure she has been under has never been fair. I wanted to cry alongside her and give her the biggest hug.” Smith goes on to say “Not to take away from Amber’s accomplishments [the first place winner] but I will still always view Isabeau as my number one.”

After the award ceremony, Amber Glenn and Isabeau Levito were seen hugging and crying to each other. Smith says “Ice skating can be such a nasty sport, it’s refreshing to see skaters that can still be proud of each other’s accomplishments.”

Chelsea Liu and Balata Nagy performing their pair skate routine
Danny O’Shea and Ellie Kim during their pair skate  



The pair skate was the last event within the Championships and it pretty much went as expected. Skaters, Danny O’Shea, and Ellie Kam, the returning camps were able to defend their first-place title with ease. They left the crowd speechless with their routine that got them the highest score of 187.76 points. This duo is a crowd favorite that continues to impress their audience time and time again.

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