Amber Glenn wants to be the fifth U.S. woman to land a triple Axel. She isn’t alone.


As Amber Glenn entered the cryotank on Sept. 8, she had to be optimistic about the coming figure skating season. Glenn, 20, was landing a triple Axel — performed in competition by only four American women in history — on about four out of every five attempts in practice, she estimated.

From her cryotherapy that day, Glenn remembers the hydrogen smoke getting thick. That’s all she remembers.

“I woke up on the floor not being able to open my right eye,” Glenn said. “My first thought was, I can’t compete tomorrow.

“My second thought was, don’t call an ambulance. That’s too dang expensive. So I kept repeating, ‘Don’t call an ambulance.’ They called an ambulance.”

Glenn learned that she passed out in the cryotank, fell through the door, hit her face on a shoe cubby, broke an orbital bone and sustained a concussion.

Her coaches at the Dallas Figure Skating Club, Darlene and Peter Cain, received a phone call and were told she was at the hospital.

“It was shocking,” Peter Cain said. “The first few hours you don’t know the extent of what happened. As her mom started sending us the pictures, we realized it was really significant.”

Incredibly, given the image of her puffed-shut purple eye that she shared on social media, Glenn skated in a virtual competition less than a month later.

On Thursday, she landed two triple Axels in practice at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas ahead of competing at Skate America on Friday night and Saturday. Her short program and free skate are coincidentally set to the songs “Scars” and “Rain, in Your Black Eyes.”

SKATE AMERICA: TV, Live Stream Schedule | Grand Prix Fields

Glenn said later Thursday, and her coaches confirmed Friday, that she so far does not plan to attempt the triple Axel in competition at Skate America.

“We’re trying to get some mileage on it prior to putting it in,” Peter Cain said. “We were hoping to put it in this week, but I don’t think we’re quite ready yet.”

If and when Glenn does try — and, key, land it clean and fully rotated — she will join an exclusive club: Tonya HardingKimmie MeissnerMirai Nagasu and Alysa Liu.

Glenn would be unique from among that group. Meissner and Liu landed a triple Axel as teenagers. Liu, 15, is the two-time reigning national champion but too young for Skate America. Harding and Nagasu were already established senior champion skaters — Nagasu an Olympian and Harding a Skate America winner.

Glenn won the 2014 U.S. junior title. Since, her best finish at senior nationals was fifth last January (with arguably the event’s highlight short program). In between, she lost her love for the sport, taking several months off between 2015 and 2016 and returning to a new rink with new coaches.

“Beforehand, [skating] was something that dictated my life, and something that, If I wasn’t a good skater, I was nothing,” she said. “And that was such a toxic mindset because I know I’m more than that. It took me a long time to really get that through my head.”

With the Cains, she spent the pandemic working on the triple Axel. She learned all of the other, more common triple jumps by age 11. It’s well known in skating that the older you get, the more difficult it is to learn a new jump, particularly one as difficult as the triple Axel.

“I don’t know how long I’ll have in the sport,” she said. “I want to make the most of it now. So that’s just been a mindset since March.”

Fellow veterans and 2022 U.S. Olympic hopefuls Bradie Tennell (22) and Mariah Bell (24) have also been training the triple Axel. Tennell hopes to debut it in competition later this season, but not at Skate America.

All of the teenage Olympic medal favorites from Russia have either a triple Axel or quadruple jump.

“Without this injury, I was knocking out clean short programs with the Axel pretty much daily,” said Glenn, who also worked on a quad toe loop before the concussion. “Then this happened. I couldn’t do it for three weeks.”

At first, Glenn wasn’t allowed to sneeze because it may disrupt the bone setting. She couldn’t drink from straws or so much as jog the first week after the head injury.

“If I were to damage that in any way, it could affect my eyesight permanently,” she said.

As she eased back onto the ice, she could not do jumps, spins or “anything with centrifugal force.” Eventually, she began rotating. Even trying the triple Axel.

“I’ll do some, and then I’ll get dizzy and have to sit down,” she said. “OK, how’s the concussion doing?”

In her first competition back, a virtual one where her program was filmed at her home rink and submitted to be judged, she singled the Axel. By mid-October, Glenn approximated that she was landing half of her triple Axel attempts in practice.

Her coaches believe she will attempt at least one triple Axel at her next competition, a U.S. Championships Series event later this autumn. Glenn is already qualified for nationals in January, so there is more freedom to risk it there.

“Just because of what’s happening internationally, we would like to have it in the repertoire, obviously,” Peter Cain said. “We would like to have two of them in the program at some point.”

NBC Sports researcher Sarah Hughes contributed to this report.

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U.S., China set for FIBA Women’s World Cup gold-medal game

FIBA Women's World Cup Basketball

SYDNEY — Breanna Stewart and the United States used a dominant defensive effort to beat Canada and reach the gold-medal game of the FIBA Women’s World Cup for the fourth consecutive tournament.

Stewart scored 17 points and the Americans raced out to an early lead to put away Canada 83-43 on Friday, reaching a Saturday gold-medal game with China. The 43 points was the fewest scored in a semifinal game in World Cup history.

“Canada has been playing really well all tournament and the goal was just to come out there and really limit them,” said U.S. forward Alyssa Thomas. “We were really locked in from the jump with our game plan.”

China edged host Australia 61-59 in the later semifinal to reach its first global championship game since the 1994 Worlds, the last time it won a medal of any color. The U.S. beat China 77-63 in group play last Saturday, the Americans’ closest game of the tournament.

“Our goal was to to win a gold medal and we’re in position to do that,” U.S. coach Cheryl Reeve said.

The U.S. (7-0), which is on a record pace for points and margin of victory in the tournament, took control of the game early scoring the first 15 points. The Americans contested every shot on the defensive end as the Canadians missed their first nine attempts from the field. On the offensive end, Stewart, A’ja Wilson and Thomas basically got any shot they wanted.

“I think after that punch, it really took the air out of them,” Thomas said. “They didn’t know what to do with their offense anymore after that.”

MORE: FIBA World Cup Schedule, Results

Laeticia Amihere, who plays at South Carolina for former U.S. coach Dawn Staley, finally got Canada on the board nearly 5 minutes into the game making a driving layup.

By the end of the quarter the U.S. led 27-7. Canada had committed four turnovers — the same number the team had against Puerto Rico in the quarterfinals which was the lowest total in a game in 30 years.

The Americans were up 45-21 at the half and the lead kept expanding in the final 20 minutes. The win was the biggest margin for the U.S. in the medal round topping the 36-point victory over Spain in the 2010 World Cup.

Canada (5-2) advanced to the medal round for the first time since 1986 and has a chance to win its first medal since taking the bronze that year.

“We didn’t get it done today, but what we’re going to do is take this with what we learned today and how we can turn it up tomorrow,” Canada captain Natalie Achonwa said. “It’s still a game for a medal and it’s just as important for us.”

The U.S. has won seven of the eight meetings with Canada in the World Cup, although the last one came in 2010. The lone victory for Canada came in 1975.

The victory was the 29th in a row in World Cup play for the Americans, who haven’t lost since the 2006 semifinals against Russia. The Soviet Union holds the World Cup record with 56 straight wins from 1959-86. This is only the second time in the Americans’ storied history they’ve reached four consecutive gold-medal contests. They also did it from 1979-90, winning three times.

This U.S. team, which has so many new faces on it, is on pace to break many of the team’s records that include scoring margin and points per game. The Americans also continued to dominate the paint even without 6-foot-8 Brittney Griner, outscoring its opponents by an average of 55-24.

Amihere led Canada with eight points.


The low point total broke the mark of 53 that South Korea scored against Russia in 2002.

“We’re starting to build that identity,” Wilson said of the defensive effort. “We’re quick and scrappy and I think that’s our identity.”

The U.S. is averaging 101 points a game. The team’s best mark ever coming into the tournament was 99.1 set in 1994.


Kahleah Copper sat out after injuring her left hip in the win over Serbia in the quarterfinals. Copper landed hard on her hip driving to the basket and had to be helped off the court. She hopes to play on Saturday. Betnijah Laney, who also got hurt in the Serbia game, did play against Canada.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup

The U.S. goes for its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headline a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, includes neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team includes nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 52 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The field also includes host Australia, the U.S.’ former primary rival, and Olympic silver medalist Japan.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), isn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule, Results

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France 74, Mali 59 Group B
4 a.m. Australia 69, Serbia 54 Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada 70, Japan 56 Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium 85, Bosnia and Herzegovina 55 Group A
11:30 p.m. Serbia 81, Mali 68 Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA 145, South Korea 69 Group A
2 a.m. France 67, Japan 53 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 95, Puerto Rico 60 Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia 75, Canada 72 Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 92, South Korea 73 Group A
11:30 p.m. China 81, Belgium 55 Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA 121, Bosnia and Herzegovina 59 Group A
2 a.m. Canada 88, Mali 65 Group B
3:30 a.m. Serbia 68, France 62 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 71, Japan 54 Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. USA 88, Serbia 55 Quarterfinals
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Canada 79, Puerto Rico 60 Quarterfinals
4 a.m. China 85, France 71 Quarterfinals
6:30 a.m. Australia 86, Belgium 69 Quarterfinals
Fri., Sept. 30 3 a.m. USA 83, Canada 43 Semifinals
5:30 a.m. China 61, Australia 59 Semifinals
11 p.m. Australia vs. Canada Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. USA vs. China Gold-Medal Game