Like the pile of books she likes to get lost in when she’s not in intensive figure skating training, the 15-year-old Isabella Levito writes his own story.
This season, in her debut on the international senior circuit, she discovers something new: “I feel like I belong at this level,” she said olympics.com last month.
“That’s what I learned.”
American teen goes to United States Figure Skating Championships this weekend (January 26-29) in San Jose, California as the favorite for women’s singles, winning three silver medals in Grand Prix series during the first half of the year.
“At the beginning of the season I was nervous and intimidated by the thought of riding as a senior because I didn’t see myself as a senior,” admitted Levito.
But her international results proved that she really should be, and on Friday night she will try to become the youngest winner for the first time since Alysa Liu shot to the title in just 13 in 2019.
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Isabeau Levito: He takes his time
The Philadelphia native hops to her favorite spot, likes to skim through as much fiction as she can, and has kept meticulous notes of her time spent with Carolina Kostner, Sochi 2014 Olympic medalist when two crossed paths this summer in the US
Levito’s skating has notes of Kostner, an Italian 2012 world champion known for her craftsmanship and attention to detail. There are comparisons to ballet Sasha Cohen, Turin 2006 also a silver medalist, but Levito has her own style. Her goal remains a clear improvement as she navigates the new ice.
“I want to improve in every competition,” she said clearly. “There are always a few minor bugs that need to be worked out, and I can’t wait to finish them.”
But the long-term goals also include potential skates on 2024 Gangwon Youth Olympic Games and Winter Olympic Games Milan Cortina 2026.
Levito has a special connection to Italy: her mother, Chiara, emigrated from the country in 1997 to the USA
Last month in Turin she won a silver medal Grand Prix Finaland it didn’t escape her that the next Winter Games would return to her Italian roots in just over three years.
“I have a big family here in Italy,” she explained in a post-competition interview in Turin. “It means something to me, speaking a little of the language. It definitely feels special [be here]”.
Facing new pressures
But rather than pinning her hopes or expectations on the upcoming Winter Games, Levito remains in the moment, focusing first on trying to win her maiden national title less than 12 months after she won the junior world title.
“I try not to think of it as pressure,” she said of the favoritism at the US Championships. “I like to think of it like this: ‘Oh, I’m going there. I’m improving.’ That’s how I see it.”
It was in Nashville last year that Levito really introduced herself to the American audience (and the many international fans watching her from afar). She twisted in two stunning skates to win a bronze medal behind the champion Maria Bell and runner-up Karen Chen.
However, at 14, she was ineligible for the age Beijing 2022.
And how mentally does he approach Milano Cortina? “It’s so far from now.” I guess I can’t think that far ahead,” she said with a smile. “I feel like everyone has an Olympic dream of going away [to compete] over there. Four more years, but I hope I can make it [too]”.
Learn: 5 things about Isabeau Levito
Isabeau Levito: Writing Your Own History
While she’s training the triple Axel and quads in practice, she has yet to put on a high jump competition on the ice with point capture.
“I’m going to have one of these pieces in the future, but right now it’s not my biggest priority,” she said. “I would rather mature and develop my skating before trying to move on to such big elements.”
Even in freshman year, she would like her career to take shape instead of rushing to success immediately.
“Longevity in sports is a good thing,” she said. “If you try to do too much too soon, it can cause injury and even burnout. If you do everything slowly, take your time… taking your time, you spend more time in sports, then it will happen [create the] length of life.”
Levito wants to write his own story on ice, and part of that process is also moving away from the sport – through reading.
“I really like learning. I really like reading,” she said. “I realize life is so short and I love reading to see the world from other people’s perspectives. You experience things – if the writing is good – that you might not experience otherwise. It’s a million lives in a million books.”
This weekend’s US Championships is another chapter for the teenager. How will she write it?