Isabeau Levito is the new U.S. champion.
There is a new champion in the history of American national championships – Isabeau Levito spending her first season at the adult level, more than 10 points ahead of the experienced Brady Tennell and won the gold.
Isabeau has been training since she was three years old under Russian coaches Yulia and Vyacheslav Kuznetsov who work in Philadelphia. Two-time Olympic champion Evgeny Platov, ex-dancer from Georgia Otar Japaridze and ballet teacher Zhanna Palagina help them. Her desire to skate came after watching the 2010 Olympics. She learned a little bit of Russian by talking to her coaches. Now she understands about 40 percent of the spoken language. “[At the Grand Prix stage] she went up to the Russian girls [Muravyova and Zinina] and spoke to them in Russian,” Kuznetsova said. Levito calls the Russians Evgenia Medvedeva and Alena Kostornaya his idols.
In addition to English and Russian, she speaks Italian. The girl’s mother Chiara Garberi, who moved from Italy to the U.S. in 1997, works as an embryologist. Chiara was interested in European history and named her daughter after the heroine of the Medieval fantasy film “Lady Hawk,” Isabella (Isabo) of Anjou.
Because of the pandemic, Levito’s international debut was delayed by a year. From the first Junior Grand Prix, the skater drew the public’s attention. If Alice Liu was known for her triple axel from the novices, Isabeau was not expected to be a big success. But she broke through the 200+ point bar on her first attempt and won the Grand Prix. And free skating program to “Russian Dance” by Tchaikovsky became a surprise for Russian figure skating fans.
Last year’s U.S. championships were a test start for Levito – she could not qualify for a trip to Beijing 2022 because of age restrictions. “It’s probably going to be very difficult for everyone but Isabeau,” Kuznetsova said before the tournament. “A podium is possible, but I’m not fixated on the place. I just want her to perform well.”
The debut turned out great. Two clean rolls earned the skater the bronze medal of the national championship. And Kuznetsova was cautious about the ultra-ci elements: “We are focused on her growing up. I don’t want her to skate to puberty and be done. I want her to skate for a long time.”
Though Isabeau is still learning difficult jumps. In the summer of 2021 she tried a quadruple toe loop in the free skating at one of the small tournaments, but she got badly undercorrected and fell down. As the 2021/22 season progressed, the skater made the content more difficult by adding triple lutz – triple rittberger and triple flip – triple rittberger cascades.
In between workouts, Levito does assignments for an online school. In her free time, the girl enjoys reading, knitting and even playing the piano. And for her Bengal cat Lana, the figure skater started a separate page in social networks.
Before she went to the adult level, Isabeau won the junior world championship. And this season, she almost immediately established herself in the world elite: two wins at the Challengers, stage silver and Grand Prix finals.
“My goal is to get better and stronger with each competition. It’s important for me to know after the show that I made a step forward, that I gave myself to the audience and that I improved in some way. It doesn’t have to be meaningful progress every time. But I have to feel inside that I’m moving forward,” Isabeau told Sports.ru.
After winning the 2022 Youth World Cup, Isabeau is serious about the 2026 Olympic Games, which will be held in Milan. The fact that her mother spent her childhood near that city gives her added motivation. Taking into account the low competition in the American team, the figure skater has every chance to fulfill her dream and get to the main start of the quadrennium.