(26 September 2022) Isabeau Levito, the reigning Junior World
Champion and 2022 U.S. bronze medalist, is one of those skaters
who has always generated a great amount of buzz practically
wherever she has gone, much like many past World and Olympic
champions. Ever since this talented and accomplished
15 year-old Mount Holly, New Jersey native first began
competing, she has been a force on the skating circuit due to
her remarkable level of athleticism, grace and fluidity.
In looking at Levito’s astonishing
competitive history, it is particularly interesting to note that
she has been following in similar footsteps as that of some
other U.S. World and Olympic champions and medalists who have
also been based out of the New York City metropolitan area.
Some members of this group include Sarah
Hughes, the 2002 U.S. Olympic gold medalist from Great Neck,
Long Island who stunned onlookers as a five year-old at New
York-metro area competitions with an Axel, double Salchow and
double toe loop; Tara Lipinski, the 1998 U.S. Olympic titlist
and New Jersey native who made the same mark in the novice
category at 10 with a double Axel, triple Salchow and triple toe
loop; and Elaine Zayak, the 1982 U.S. World champion from
Paramus, New Jersey who cleaned up in the novice division at age
11 with a double Axel, triple Salchow and triple toe loop, among
a few notable others.
Levito, who trains at the Igloo Ice Rink in
Mount Laurel Township in Southern New Jersey with longtime coach
Yulia Kuznetsova, has been a veritable force on the competitive
scene from the jump.
Coming up the line, Levito racked up first
place finishes at many non-qualifying competitions in the New
York metro area from the Well Balanced No Test through the
qualifying regional and national categories.
By age 10, she had clinched the 2018 U.S.
Juvenile title with a double Axel, triple Salchow and triple toe
loop and the next season, she went on to score silver in the
2019 U.S. Intermediate division at age 11.
The next year, Levito claimed silver at the
2020 U.S. Championships in the junior category at age 12 and
then went on to win the junior title at the 2021 U.S.
Championships at 13.
Last year, in her first foray as a senior,
Levito scored bronze at the 2022 U.S. Championships at age 14.
Two months later in April, Levito won gold
at the 2022 U.S. Junior World Championships in Talinn, Estonia,
designating her as the first American to have achieved this feat
in this division since 2008, when Rachael Flatt, the 2010 U.S.
titlist, has placed first there.
For Levito, it’s all about being the best
she can be, something that has been a goal for her ever since
she first started skating.
Right from the outset, when Levito’s
mother, Chiara Garberi, enrolled her in Learn-to-Skate classes
at age three at the Igloo Ice Rink as a means to help strengthen
her balance, Levito instantly took to the sport.
Soon thereafter, Levito began taking
private lessons with Kuznetsova and at that point, it was clear
the energy was palpable between the two, who immediately clicked
Their chemistry, along with the fact that
Levito’s mom was as committed as ever to supporting her
daughter’s love of skating, seems to be much of the reason why
she has evolved into the skater that she has become today.
In the beginning part of her developmental
process, Levito seemed to inherently understand the importance
of time, focus and hard work and started to practice with her
At the rink, Levito and Kuznetsova would
work on learning all of the primary elements, including edges,
turns, power, the basic spins and single and double jumps.
With this base, Levito soon began to evolve
an exceptional skater as well as a standout competitor in the
New York metropolitan region.
By age 10, she had obtained lightning-quick
triples through the toe loop that helped catapult her to the
pinnacle of the sport nationally and ultimately, on a global
Several years later, Levito could execute
all of the triple jumps through the Lutz, much of the reason she
went on to wind up on the 2020 U.S. junior podium at age 12.
When asked who has most inspired her on her
journey so far, Levito said Evgenia Medvedeva, the 2016 and 2017
Russian World Champion and 2018 Olympic silver medalist, was the
primary skater she has always admired and looked up to.
“I always remember watching her when I was
younger and just being glued to the phone screen in the car
while eating my lunch,” said Levito said at a press conference
at the 2022 U.S. Championships last January.
Levito, who style vividly echoes the same
balletic and athletic characteristics as those of Medvedeva, has
built herself into a vital force of the sport,
especially over the past several seasons.
For Levito, however, it’s now about staying
focused on continuing to improve.
“Next season, I hope to improve on becoming
even more of a well-rounded skater,” said Levito.
According to Levito, the best part of
competing is having the opportunity to share her love of skating
“What I enjoy most about skating is
performing in front of a crowd and people,” said Levito.
This past season, the moments that stood
out most for Levito was performing at the U.S. and World Junior
“I feel that during Nationals and Junior
Worlds I truly enjoyed performing my programs,” said Levito. “To
me, what stood out most was how large the events were, but this
only made the events more satisfying.”
Clearly, Levito delivered the message of
her love of skating to those on hand at these events considering
they gave her huge standing ovations.
Meanwhile, Levito earned big props from
decorated NBC media commentators Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir
for the quality of her skating.
“She is absolutely stunning, technically
brilliant but artistically way beyond her years,” said Lipinski,
who is also the 1997 World champion and 1997 U.S. titlist, in
regard to Levito’s performances in Nashville. “Everything is
nuanced and detailed.”
Weir echoed similar sentiments.
“She has such poise,” said Weir, the 2008
World bronze medalist and three-time U.S. champion, about
Levito’s programs in Nashville. “Tremendous skating, it was
almost like she was skating in a whisper. We leaned in to hear
Certainly, as Levito continues to glide on
this amazing path, training as steadfastly as ever with
Kusnetsova, as well as Otar Japaridze, Slava Kuznetsov, Evgeni
Platov and Zhanna Palagina, it will be exciting to reach greater
heights with her skating in coming years,
that is for sure.
Levito will be making her Senior Grand Prix debut at the 2022
Skate America competition in Noorwood, Massachusetts, the third
week of October.
2022 World Junior Figure Skating Championships
The small North European country of Estonia (only 1.3 million
people) has been the capital of the figure skating world this
season because its capital of Tallinn organized three ISU
championships in the Tondiraba ice rink which was built in 2014.
In January the federation started with the European
Championships, the week later it organized the Four Continents
Championships which China had given back before the Olympic
Games. And now in mid-April in the smallest of the three Baltic
countries Junior Worlds took place which had been planned in
Sofia, Bulgaria in early March. But Bulgaria felt unable because
of a high number of Covid 19 cases. And for the fall, Tallinn
has applied for a Grand Prix if Russia and China will not hold
Like at the Senior World Championships in France, no Russian and
Belorussian skaters were allowed to compete due to the
world-wide ban because of the war against Ukraine. The Chinese
federation did not send any skaters because they are afraid that
they might bring new infections into China after coming back
from the competition.
Russian Absence from Worlds Opens Up Medal Possibilities
(5 March 2022) With skaters from Russia (and Belarus) suspended from
international competition and China not entering any skaters in
the World Championships, medal opportunities open up in four
disciplines, and the chances of some countries to earn three
entries for 2023 greatly improve. In the case of China,
all their skaters who competed at the Winter Games were placed
into a three week Covid quarantine after the games, and due to
the lost training time will not be in condition to compete at
In the Women's event, the first, second and fourth place
finishers from Beijing will not be at worlds. This make
Kaori Sakamota (JPN) the favorite for gold, and puts Alysa Liu
(USA) within striking distance of a medal. Japan could
well end up one-two among the women. Both the U.S. and
Korea are also now in good position to earn three entries for
2023, where that seemed unlikely if the Russian women were
As the Russian men were not contenders at Beijing, their
absence from Worlds would not appear to impact the medal
possibilities. The biggest question is whether
Nathan Chen (USA) will actually skate at Worlds. If he
chooses not too, Jason Brown (USA) is first alternate, though he
also was ambiguous in Beijing on whether he would compete at
Worlds. Second alternate for the U.S. is Jimmy Ma. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) will also not be competing at
Worlds. That opens up medal opportunities for Junwan Cha
(KOR) and Daniel Grassl (ITA).
(15 March 2022) Due what is
described as a "nagging injury" Nathan Chen withdrew from
the 2022 World Championships. He was replaced by third
alternate Camden Pulkinen."
Ilia Malinin (USA) who was third at 2022 U.S. Nationals, but
was not named to the U.S. Olympic Team, earned his minimum
technical score to compete at Worlds at the Challenge Cup in The
Hague, Netherlands the last week of February. There he scored 260.69
points, well below his score of over 300 points at U.S.
Nationals. Most likely, to make the podium at Worlds a
skater will need at least 280-290 points. If Chen and Brown both
choose not to compete at Worlds, it is not clear the U.S. will
have a strong enough team to earn three entries for 2023.
In that case, strong performances from Vincent Zhou (USA) and Malinin will be needed.
The pairs event at Worlds is shaping up to be a competition
of the best of the mediocre. Between them, China and
Russia took the top five places in the pairs event in Beijing.
This puts the U.S. pair teams in the odd position of being
contenders for two medals at Worlds, and also pretty much
guarantees the U.S. will earn three entries for 2023.
Russia placed second, sixth and fourteenth at the Winter
Games in Dance. If the other entries from Beijing all compete at
Worlds, that would make Gabrielle Papdakis & Guillame Cizeron
(FRA) most likely to take the gold, and the U.S. silver and
bronze. Charlene Guignard & Marco Fabbri (ITA) will
have to find about 8 points somewhere to challenge for the
Bronze. The absence of the Russian dancers puts Canada in
an improved position to earn three entries in dance for 2023.
ISU Suspends Russia and Belarus Participation in ISU
(1 March 2022) Following the IOC statement of 28 February
2022 concerning the suspension of Russia and Belarus
participating in international sporting events, the ISU has
suspended the participation of Russia and Belarus skaters and
officials in ISU events. The statement from the ISU reads in
Following the IOC recommendation, in order
to protect the integrity of ice skating competitions and for the
safety of all the participants of international ice skating
competitions, the ISU Council based on Article 17.i.q)i) of the
ISU Constitution, agreed that with immediate effect and until
further notice, no Skaters belonging to the ISU Members in
Russia (Russian Skating Union and the Figure Skating Federation
of Russia) and Belarus (Skating Union of Belarus) shall be
invited or allowed to participate in International ice skating
Competitions including ISU Championships and other ISU Events.
The same applies to Officials listed in the respective ISU
Communications and/or Regulations under Russia and Belarus.
The ISU Council will continue to closely monitor the situation
in Ukraine and its impact on the ISU activity and will take
additional steps if and when required.
This includes Worlds and Junior Worlds (if they are held).
What this means for the holding of Rostelcom Cup as part of the
2022 Grand Prix of Figure Skating is unclear.
Also unclear is what this will mean for Russia qualifying
entries for 2023 Worlds, if they are allowed to participate next
year. One would hope it means that by not having skaters
this year to qualify for entries next year, Russia would be
allowed only one entry, if any, in each discipline in 2023.
Further, by not being able to participate in ISU events for the
foreseeable future, skaters from Russia and Belarus will not
have the opportunity to earn minimum technical scores to enter
future Championships until their ability to compete in ISU
events is restored.
Men's Medalists, Yuma Kagiyama, Nathan Chen, Shoma
Saturday, February 18
Beginning at 19:00 (Beijing time) Pairs Free Skate
Successful Four Continents Championships in Europe
Until recently, one would never have believed that a Four
Continents Championship would take place in Europe. However,
since China already gave back the third ISU competition after
the Junior World Championships and the Grand Prix Cup of China
2021 because of the ongoing pandemic and the ISU did not find a
replacement host at first, the Estonians stepped in and thus
hosted two ISU Championships in a row, another novelty.
deserves great respect what this small federation with its
enthusiastic staff and volunteers achieved. In the end, everyone
was exhausted but happy. Everything was well coordinated and ran
like clockwork, there were no mishaps. The Estonians proved that
it is possible to hold a safe event even without a "bubble."
Only one positive Covid case was reported during the week.
the European Championships, all accredited persons were tested
daily. The spectator attendance was lower than at the European
Championships, which is not surprising, because the big stars
were missing as almost always in an Olympic year. On the other
hand, the competition in such a season is the chance for
newcomers and for skaters that are the number two, three or four
in their countries, who can prove themselves at an ISU
Championship. The athletes all emphasized several times how
happy and grateful they were that the "Four Continents" took
Exclusive Interview with Caroline Green and Michael
Parsons, 2022 Four Continents Ice Dance Champions.
(26 December 2021) Yuzuru Hanyu won his sixth Japanese
national title with 322.26 points. In his free skate he
attempted the first quad Axel in competition, a jump he has set
his sights on for several years, and a goal that has cost him
injury and missed competition this season in the ISU Grand Prix.
His attempt in Saitama was missing more than one-half rotation
and was landed on two feet. A downgraded quad Axel
with a GoE of -5 has a value of 4.00 points, less than a base
value triple toe loop.
The attempt is the first jump in his free skate program
Playing the above competition video
at one-quarter speed and measuring the time in the air several
times, we come up with a time in the air of 0.75 seconds.
This is about as much time in the air that elite skaters ever
achieve. To fully rotate an attempt with that time in the
air requires an average rotation rate in the air of 6.0
rotations per second and a peak rotation rate of nearly 7
rotations or more, which is where the attempt comes far short.
The average rotation rate of this attempt is 5.3 rotations per
second, well above what is typical for a triple Axel, but far
short of what is needed for a quad Axel; in other words, not
Breaking this down a little further, Hanyu's rotation rate is
significantly greater on the first half of flight (takeoff to
peak of the jump) and well over 6 rotations a second, but much
slower on the second half. So the problem is not a lack of
torque and initial angular momentum on the takeoff. Rather
the problem is control of the moment of inertia in the air.
That is, the main flaw in this attempt is the air position that slows the
In this attempt, there is too much "light" between the legs,
which are not perfectly straight and the elbows stick out too
far with the arms not tight against the torso - with a look we
refer to as "helicopter arms." These three
position defects increase the moment of inertia and slow the
Comparing Hanyu's air position to Nathan Chens' there is a
significant difference in technique between the two. Chen
uses flat palms against the chest with forearms fully in contact
with the torso. Hanyu uses a fist into palm, in front of
the sternum. Hanyu's position leaves the elbows farther
from the rotation axis than Chen and allows the elbows to more
easily open outwards away from the rotation axis. Chen's
position is more stable and resistant to "helicopter arms" in
Getting more takeoff angular momentum for this jump is probably
not obtainable, so to get this jump to full rotation would require reducing the
moment of inertia by 12% or more. Whether Hanyu can
improve the position enough to get
there remain to be seen, but given how long he was worked on
this jump and how far off the mark it still is dynamically, it
The question we asked earlier in the season remains. Does
Hanyu want to be a three time Olympic Champion, or does he want
to be the first skater who attempted a quad Axel at the Olympics
Interview with Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri, Italian Ice Dance Champions
22 March 2022 - It was announced
today that the 2022 Internationaux de France will be held in Angers,
France. Separately, there are rumors that Cup of China and
Rostelcom Cup will not be a part of the 2022 Grand Prix, and
competitions will instead beheld in Italy and Finland in their places.
Jan 09 - Jan 15, 2023 - Canadian Figure Skating Championships,
Oshawa, ON, CAN
Jan 23 - Jan 29, 2023 - U.S. Figure Skating Championships, San Jose, CA,
Jan 23 - Jan 29, 2023 - ISU European Figure Skating Championships, Espoo, FIN
Feb 07 - Feb 12, 2023 - ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, Colorado Springs, USA
Feb 27 - Mar 05, 2023 - ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships, Calgary, CAN
Mar 20 - Mar 26, 2023 - ISU World Figure Skating Championships, Saitama, JPN
2022-23 ISU Grand Prix
Norrwood, MA, USA
Mississauga, ON, CAN
Internationaux de France
MK John Wilson Trophy
Grand Prix Espoo
Grand Prix Final
2023-24 ISU Grand Prix
Internationaux de France
Cup of China
Grand Prix Final
2022-23 Junior Grand Prix
August 24-27, 2022,
August 31 - September 3, 2022,
Ostrava, CZE (includes Pair Skating)
September 7-10, 2022,
Riga, LAT (includes Pair Skating)
September 21-24, 2022,
September 28 - October 2, 2022,
Zagreb, CRO (includes Pair Skating)
October 5-8, 2022,
Gdansk, POL (includes Pair Skating)