Amber Glenn has won the U.S. Figure Skating Championship, becoming the first openly LGBTQ+ woman to win.
Despite making mistakes on two major jumps in her free skate routine on 26 January, Glenn won with 210.46 points to silver medalist Josephine Lee’s 204.13 points and bronze medalist Isabeau Levito’s 200.68 points.
She’s competed in the competition eight times prior. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
In an interview with NBC Sports, the victor said: “Being the first openly queer women’s champion is incredible. When I came out initially, I was terrified. I was scared it would affect my scores or something.
She continued: “It was worth it to see the amount of young people who felt more comfortable in their environments at the rink, [people] who feel, ‘Oh, I’m represented by her, and she’s one of the top skaters [so] I don’t have to try and hide the sight of me.’ Just because you have this aspect doesn’t mean you can’t be a top athlete.”
Glenn’s win marks the first openly LGBTQ+ woman athlete to reach the top spot at the competition, but there are other out queer U.S. figure skaters, including Adam Rippon, Eliot Halverson, Karina Manta, and Timothy LeDuc.
The figure skater won the championship a decade after winning the junior U.S. championship title in 2014, and navigating a few bumps in the road during her professional career.
At the start of this season, Glenn suffered from a severe concussion and was previously forced to withdraw from the 2022 Olympic trials after testing positive for Coronavirus.
“This wasn’t exactly how I wanted to win my first national title, but I’m extremely grateful for it,” she said during a press conference following the event. “It means so much to me, after everything I’ve been through in the last 10 years.”
Glenn proudly lifted the Progress Pride flag following her win and came out publicly in 2019. She said to Dallas Voice at the time: “The fear of not being accepted is a huge struggle for me.
“Being perceived as [going through] ‘just a phase’ or ‘[being] indecisive’ is a common thing for bisexual/pansexual women. I don’t want to shove my sexuality in people’s faces, but I also don’t want to hide who I am.”