On Friday, January 26, Amber Glenn became the first out queer woman to win the US Women’s Figure Skating Championship.
Upon accepting her gold medal, the crowd celebrated alongside the 24-year-old who proudly held the Progress Pride flag over her shoulders. Glenn, who came out as bisexual and pansexual in 2019, has competed in the annual skating championship nine times. She previously won the silver medal in 2021 and the bronze medal in 2023 before reaching the top of the podium this year.
Glenn told NBC Sports, “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 added, “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.”
Canadian Olympic figure skater and queer activist Kaitlyn Weaver said, “I’ll never forget watching pride flags waving for Amber in 2021 and crying over how beautiful it was. To see them now, draped around our NATIONAL CHAMPION is a dream come true… And to have a small part in the process is the ultimate privilege. Thank you Amber.”
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This victory did not come easily for Glenn. During her free skate routine, after landing an iconic triple axel, Glenn made mistakes on two jumps that could have cost her the title, but she still scored highly with a total of 210.46 points.
Silver medalist Josephine Lee performed well with a clean skate routine and earned 204.13 points, and defending champion Isabeau Levito fell three times during her routine, dropping her score to 200.68 points.
Glenn said, “This wasn’t exactly how I wanted to win my first national title, but I’m extremely grateful for it.”
Her victory comes after a difficult few years, which began with a severe concussion after colliding with another skater in 2021. Then, she was forced to withdraw from the 2022 Winter Olympic trials after testing positive for Covid-19, but attended as a reserve member of the US Figure Skating team.
While Amber Glenn is the first out queer woman to win this prestigious title, she is in good company among other LGBTQ+ US figure skaters including Eliot Halverson, Karina Manta, Timothy LeDuc and Adam Rippon.
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