Amber Glenn is first female queer US figure skating champion

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Amber Glenn  who identifies as bisexual and pansexual  has competed in the championship eight times prior, and won the silver medal in 2021 and the bronze medal in 2023.

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.

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.”

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Adam Siao Him Fa lands back flip, becomes European skating champ

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French figure skater Adam Siao Him Fa just did an illegal backflip in competition at the European Championships, deliberately incurring a deduction, as a flex of his confidence that he would win anyway. He did, in fact, win.

It was also a tribute to the French skater Surya Bonaly who infamously did the same thing at the 1998 Olympics (though hers was more of a “fuck it why not,” and she wasn’t in contention to win any medals).

Backflips are illegal in figure skating because they’re dangerous, not because they’re more difficult than some other jumps. If you mess up a traditional jump you’ll land on your ass, if you mess up a backflip you’ll land on your head.

99% of the time an illegal move happens, it’s by accident; which is why there are no other consequences than a point  deduction. There’s no differentiating between accidental and deliberate violations of the rules because the latter is so vanishingly rare that it’s not worth clutching any pearls over.

For a bit of bonus context, none of the other heavy hitters of men’s skating were at this event (this was European nations only), so Adam was working with a much larger margin of error than is typical. Furthermore, it was just for fun rather than stemming from dickishness or arrogance.

And yes, pretty much all top skaters are hot. This is the silver medallist of this event and this is the bronze medallist and this is of course the reigning world champion and this is… Deniss, and most importantly, the GOAT ☺️

Cherry Blossom

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This video beautifully captures Junhwan Cha’s remarkable journey, starting from the enchanting streets of Tokyo in search of cherry blossoms to the exhilarating world of competitive Figure Skating.

Despite the pressure and intensity of the World Championships, the 21 year old approached each performance with a beaming smile and an undeniable joy for skating. Junhwan has undoubtedly carved his name in the annals of Figure Skating history as he became the first Korean man to win a medal at an ISU Championships.

Figure skating is finally ready for same-sex teams on the ice

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It was spring 2022, and the Winter Olympics season had finally come to a close. Under the glare of fluorescent lights in a nearly empty arena in London, Ontario, two of figure skating’s most decorated athletes circled each other with ease. Four years—knocked askew by the pandemic, injuries, and illnesses—had just culminated in both receiving medals they’d worked toward for their entire careers. Now, with no upcoming competition, no pressure, and no expectations, they took each other by the hand and glided across the ice.

As piano echoed over the sound system, they began to dance, their bodies matching effortlessly, limbs stretching in identical lines, torsos coiling. With their arms wrapped around each other tightly, they unfurled to spin around in endless motion. Improvisation became choreography, and they alternated between carving across the ice and laughing at a botched move. Over and over, they practiced a Fred Astaire–style dip until it was easy. Cheek to cheek, then far apart with just a single push, the pair forged a new routine.

From the way they moved in perfect harmony, you’d never guess that they had never competed together. They looked every bit the pros they were. But there was one unusual thing about them: Both were women. For close friends like Gabriella Papadakis and Madison Hubbell—and any two figure skaters who want to compete with a same-gender partner—skating as a team had long been forbidden.

The International Skating Union, or ISU, expressly prohibits same-gender teams in competition. Pair skating and ice dance teams have both been defined as “one Woman and one Man” since the 1950s, and while athletes of the same gender can skate together in synchronized skating—which showcases teams of eight to 16—competitive rules for teams of two have remained strictly man and woman.

But several months after Papadakis and Hubbell had that private skate session, there was a startling change. In September 2022, in a unanimous ruling, Skate Canada, the country’s figure skating governing body, made history when it removed all gendered language from its competition rulebook, redefining teams as “Partner A and Partner B.” For the first time, same-gender teams and out nonbinary athletes using correct pronouns would be able to compete at Canada’s national events.

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