The U.S. has a new women’s figure skating national champion, and she happens to only be 15 years old.
Isabeau Levito topped 2018 Olympic bronze medalist Bradie Tennell by 10 points to win gold at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Friday. Her free skate earned a score of 149.55 for a 223.33 total.
When asked how she felt after winning gold, Levito smiled but didn’t have an immediate answer, according to The Associated Press.
“I actually can’t even find the word to describe it right now,” she said. “Just give me a minute.”
Levito’s title-winning free skate featured seven triple jumps, including two triple Lutz combinations, according to the U.S. Figure Skating Fan Zone.
“I was just very proud of myself for having collected myself and done the program that I needed to do,” she told The Associated Press. “Going into this event my entire goal truly for almost even both programs was to stay composed and really try to suppress my nerves as much as possible, to really not let little, minor, silly mistakes happen.”
Levito’s performance garnered praise from the NBC analysts, including 1998 Olympic gold medalist Tara Lipinski. Lipinski called the free skate a “gold medal skate” during the NBC broadcast.
“She takes her jumping passes with the precision of a heart surgeon, but then she floats around like a ballerina,” she said. “It’s the perfect mix in figure skating. I think this may be the first of many, many national titles for Isabeau Levito.”
Olympic bronze medalist and NBC analyst Johnny Weir said Levito’s free skate was one of his favorite U.S. championship performances. Weir is Levito’s skating inspiration. She tried imitating Weir during the 2010 Olympics, which led to her mother taking her skating for the first time when she was 3 years old, according to Golden Skate.
isabeau levito's free skate to "dulsea si tandra mea fiara (my sweet and tender beast)" at the 2023 toyota us national figure skating championships!!— yui 💭 (@moozuru) January 28, 2023
3Lz+3Lo, 3T, 2A, 3F, 2A, 3Lz+1Eu+3S, 3F+2T
fs: 149.55 (77.40+72.15)
total: 223.33#IsabeauLevito pic.twitter.com/Xqu6Srep5m
Who is Isabeau Levito?
The New Jersey skater is the reigning junior world champion. That win made her the first American woman to win a global title on either the junior or senior level since 2008, according to NBC Sports. She also won silver at last month’s Grand Prix Final.
Levito’s win at the 2023 U.S. Figure Skating Championships was her first senior women’s title. She finished in third place in her national’s debut last year.
Prior to winning the title, Levito was ranked fifth in the world this season based on best total score, NBC Sports reported.
The world rankings exclude Russian skaters, who were banned from competing at last year’s world championships after Russia invaded Ukraine, according to USA Today.
Levito, Tennell and Amber Glenn, who finished third at nationals, will represent the U.S. at the World Championship in Japan in March.