Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Belgian Loena Hendrickx, American Isabeau Levito shine to open figure skating worlds

Loena Hendrickx leads after the women’s short program at the world figure skating championships, looking to become the first Belgian to win a singles title.

Hendrickx, a 24-year-old who took silver and bronze at the last two worlds (Belgium’s first singles medals), overcame a hip injury to post a personal-best 76.98 points Wednesday in Montreal.

She landed a triple flip-triple toe loop combination, double Axel and triple Lutz, taking a 3.25-point lead over American Isabeau Levito. The free skate is Friday.

“I had a rough time coming here with my injury, and I had to make changes to my training as I was restricted in my training, but I think that I dealt with it in a smart way and was able to give it my best today,” Hendrickx said, according to the International Skating Union (ISU). “I must confess that I made my program easier with the jump combination in the first half instead of the second half. But it also gave me more pressure because I had never done this combination in competition before.”

FIGURE SKATING WORLDS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Levito, 17, also had a personal-best short that included a triple Lutz-triple toe, double Axel and triple flip and ended with two pumped fists and a large smile.

Levito, fourth at last year’s worlds, bounced back after struggling in her most recent program, the free skate at January’s U.S. Championships.

“I feel like I thought I was losing the confidence, the part of me that rises to the occasion under competition and pressure,” she said, according to the ISU. “I know I am a strong competitor inside. It’s really good to have that coming back again.”

Levito’s goal is to finish on the podium.

Ashley Wagner was the last U.S. woman to finish in the top two at worlds, taking silver in 2016. Kimmie Meissner was the last U.S. woman to win worlds in 2006.

Levito is followed in the standings by South Korean Lee Hae-In, the 2023 silver medalist, and Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto, the two-time defending world champion.

Sakamoto, trying to become the first woman to three-peat at worlds since American Peggy Fleming in 1968, landed low on a triple Lutz (losing grade of execution points and receiving an unclear edge call) and briefly slipped late in her program.

U.S. champion Amber Glenn is ninth after landing a triple flip-triple toe and a double Axel and falling on a triple loop.

Levito and Glenn entered worlds ranked third and 14th in the field by best total score this season, respectively.

If they finish with a combined placement of 13th or better (sixth and seventh, for example), the U.S. will earn the maximum three women’s spots at 2025 Worlds.

Earlier Wednesday, Canadians Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps topped the pairs’ short program. More on that event here.

Worlds continue Thursday with the men’s short and pairs’ free, live on Peacock.

Canadians Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps lead after the pairs’ short program.