By Jackie Wong
The U.S. Championships has always been the place where skaters bring their very best. After all, in order to continue your season at the year-end ISU Championships, you have to impress. And with the combination of World medalists, veteran names, newly-minted seniors, fresh partnerships, and no doubt, surprise standout performances, the 2024 Prevagen U.S. Figure Skating Championships is shaping up to be another superb event.
Depth and Intrigue for the Women
If you looked at the entry list for the women’s event at the start of the season, it wouldn’t have been a surprise to think that Amber Glenn and Isabeau Levito would be the ones leaving Columbus with the top prizes. But the season has sparked some intrigue – both Glenn and Levito have delivered great skates in the past few months, but so have others. Ava Ziegler just put up the highest free skate score among the American women at NHK Trophy. Lindsay Thorngren has made a splash at multiple events this season. A lot can happen in this strong but potentially unpredictable field.
No Favorite in Pairs
Coming off a few seasons where Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier were squarely at the top of their game, we won’t have Knierim and Frazier in the field this year. And so far, none of the pairs have really made a mark internationally yet this season, and Emily Chan and Spencer Howe, the pair that looked to be next in line last year, have not competed yet due to injury. Add that to there being multiple newly-formed pairs who look promising, and you’ve got yourself a wide open competition.
Ice Dance Supremacy
By far, the discipline in which the U.S. has the greatest depth continues to be ice dance. World champions Madison Chock and Evan Bates have their eyes on their fifth title, Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker will finally make their much-anticipated return and six other ice dance teams come in with scores that put them in the top-20 international season bests this season.
Another Set of Surprises for the Men?
Outside of defending champion Ilia Malinin, the men’s field will be full of skaters who could make their own splashes in Columbus. And if last year’s U.S. Championships were any indication of how convoluted this event could be, you can expect something similar here. Jason Brown has had one full competition coming in, Andrew Torgashev and Camden Pulkinen have put down some solid skates but haven’t been consistent, and most recently, Tomoki Hiwatashi was impressive at Sectionals to qualify for Columbus.
New But Familiar Names
Skating fans likely scanned through the roster for Columbus and did some double takes. There are some familiar names who are skating at the U.S. Championships for the first time. That includes 2-time Israeli champion and 2018 Olympian Daniel Samohin, who is coming back to the U.S. Championships for the first time since 2013, when he was fourth in the novice event. It also includes three pairs skaters who previously competed for other countries: Balazs Nagy (most recently Hungary) skating with Chelsea Liu, Alisa Efimova (most recently Germany) skating with Misha Mitrofanov and Daniil Parkman (most recently Georgia) skating with Katie McBeath.
To see all the action at the 2024 Prevagen U.S. Figure Skating Championships, purchase tickets here.