Isabeau Levito, 15, finished runner-up at Grand Prix England and will very likely become the youngest American to qualify for figure skating’s Grand Prix Final since 2007.
Levito, the world junior champion, finished second in both of her starts on the six-event Grand Prix Series to all but clinch a spot in December’s six-skater Final. It would take very unexpected results in the last two Grand Prix events the next two weeks to knock her out.
“That was my goal,” Levito said of qualifying for the Final, according to the International Skating Union. “[My free skate] was pretty good, but it was definitely short of perfection. I was slightly disappointed in my triple Lutz-triple loop combination. I know I can do it better, and I was a little upset when it wasn’t absolutely perfect.”
Japan’s Mai Mihara won Grand Prix England, totaling 217.43 points to edge Levito by 1.69. Two-time U.S. champion Bradie Tennell was 12th in the 12-woman field in her first competition in 18 months. Tennell missed all of last season with a foot injury and missed training time over the last two months with an ankle injury.
Levito, whose 10 triple jumps between two programs were all positively graded (aka clean), was bidding to become the youngest American to win a Grand Prix since Tara Lipinski in 1997. She ranks fourth in the world this season by best total score among senior women.
Levito was third at last season’s U.S. Championships but was too young for the Olympics. She went to junior worlds instead and became the first U.S. woman to win a junior or senior world title since 2008.
With Levito all but in, it’s now likely that the U.S. will qualify skaters in all four disciplines into the Final, which takes the top six per discipline over the six-event Grand Prix Series. The U.S. last had skaters in every event at the Final in 2007, including 14-year-old Caroline Zhang.
GRAND PRIX ENGLAND: Results
The Americans have risen in the absence of powerhouse Russia, whose skaters are banned due to the invasion of Ukraine. China, which has strong pairs’ teams, hasn’t had any skaters compete through four Grand Prix events.
Later Sunday, Italians Charlène Guignard and Marco Fabbri became the first ice dancers to qualify for the Grand Prix Final with their second win this season. Guignard and Fabbri, fifth at the Olympics, totaled 213.74 points and beat Brits Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson by 8.18. They rank second in the world this season by best total score behind Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier.
Grand Prix England highlights air Sunday at 4 p.m. ET on NBC, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app.
The Grand Prix Series moves this week to Japan for NHK Trophy, live on Peacock. The field includes world champions Shoma Uno and Kaori Sakamoto from Japan. The U.S. contingent is led by three-time world medalist ice dancers Madison Chock and Evan Bates.
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