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Out Queer Woman Wins US Figure Skating Title

Amber Glenn, who identifies as bisexual and pansexual, is the first to win gold.

By DAVE SKRETTA AP Sports Writer

Amber Glenn thought she’d thrown away her chances of winning her long-sought U.S. figure skating title when, after landing a dramatic opening triple axel Friday night, the 24-year-old from Texas fell apart over the second half of her program.

Then she watched Isabeau Levito collapse right behind her.

The defending champion fell three times during her own free skate, drawing an audible gasp from a rapt crowd in Columbus, Ohio. And when Levito’s score was read, Glenn’s tears of anguish turned to tears of joy. Her score of 210.46 points was enough to crown her the nation’s best for the first time, a full decade after she reigned as the U.S. junior champion.

“I mean, utter shock,” Glenn said. “It was definitely not the performance I would have liked to have had tonight, and I know both Isabeau and I are capable of so much more. But just the shock that all my hard work has paid off.”

Levito finished with 200.68 points, falling to third behind Josephine Lee, whose winning free skate gave her the silver medal.

Glenn, who trailed Levito by less than half a point after their short programs, landed a huge triple axel to open her program, a jump that very few women are willing to attempt. She followed with triple flip-triple toe and triple loop-double toe combinations, and a triple salchow, all of which appeared to have her cruising toward a national title.

As if on cue, the late-program mistakes that have held Glenn back for years surfaced again. She short-changed a jump sequence by doing only a double lutz, and finished with a single flip, and those two mistakes cost her a huge amount of points.

“I saw my choreographer and said, ‘I’m so sorry,'” Glenn said later. “I didn’t do nearly what she had for me in this program.”

Glenn watched from off the ice as Levito fell on her opening triple lutz-triple toe combo, then appeared to get back on track by nailing her next three jumping passes. But then came a fall on her triple flip, and another on her triple loop, and by the time she spun to her finish in the middle of the ice, Levito was burying her face in her hands and fighting back tears.

When the scores were read, Levito was left in third place and Glenn had replaced her as the U.S. champion.

“I know I have so much more left in me,” Glenn said. “Ten years ago, I won junior (nationals), and the world of expectations were put upon me, and it crushed me. And now, coming back 10 years later and having this — it’s incredible.”

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