LeBron James and Kevin Durant have a Greg Oden sized joke for the TNT crew


The Guardian

Amber Glenn: America’s pansexual skating star on popping out and breaking by

Since popping out as pansexual, the US nationwide silver medalist has delivered a collection of career-best performances and thrust herself into the dialog for subsequent yr’s Olympics Amber Glenn is believed to be the primary ever out lady to actively compete on the worldwide senior circuit. {Photograph}: Étienne Laurent/EPA “What’s your sexuality?” Amber Glenn regarded up from the questionnaire at her therapist sitting throughout from her in a brown leather-based chair, immersed in her authorized pad. Glenn thought again to all of the occasions she and the opposite determine skaters had huddled collectively at one finish of the rink, chattering in regards to the boys they noticed gliding previous. Glenn puzzled why she thought a number of the ladies that handed had been simply as stunning? Why did her abdomen flip-flop when sure ladies had been round? Was it OK to really feel this manner? Glenn took a deep breath and scribbled one thing down that she hadn’t revealed to anybody in her life – not even her mom. “I feel I’m bisexual,” the 15-year-old Glenn wrote. “What do I do?” The therapist’s eyes darted down the paper till she paused on one line, her lips pursing as if somebody had simply held a lemon wedge to them. “You have got sufficient to cope with proper now,” she mentioned, scarcely trying up. “It doesn’t matter.” Glenn went numb. For years, she had been struggling to behave as delicate and female as the opposite skaters, each on and off the ice. She’d even pretended to be quiet and shy to suit into the field anticipated of her in a conservative sport, although everybody advised her she had the persona of a golden retriever. She needed solutions, however all she felt was embarrassment. “I felt like I’d been shut down,” she advised the Guardian. “I had thought this was my likelihood to get somebody to elucidate it to me. I didn’t deliver it up once more for a very long time.” Fortunately, Glenn had the thoughts to know that what she felt did matter, not solely together with her well being and happiness, however together with her skating profession. When she took silver at US nationals final month in Las Vegas, the 21-year-old Glenn grew to become the primary out LGBTQ lady to succeed in the rostrum within the competitors’s 107-year historical past. And now that she has the vaunted triple axel soar in her arsenal, Glenn has one thing that appeared unobtainable six years in the past – a critical likelihood to creating the US group for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Amber Glenn stole the present with a surprising free skate at US nationals in January. Numerous kids from Plano, Texas – the Dallas suburb the place Glenn was born and nonetheless lives right now – dream of skating within the Olympics. The Dallas Stars chain has six rinks within the space alone, to not point out the spattering of privately owned services run by world-class coaches. Glenn first took to the ice at age 5, when she was taken together with her youthful sister and three cousins to the native mall’s rink for classes. Glenn was an exceptionally quick skater out of the gate. “You wanna race?” a precocious nine-year-old Glenn requested the hockey gamers, blonde ponytail bobbing in movement. At 10, Glenn stayed up previous her bedtime twice every week and danced to the Excessive Faculty Musical soundtrack underneath flashing coloured lights and a shimmering disco ball, basking within the consideration she received from the opposite skaters that stopped to observe her. She felt like she was flying. As a competitor, Glenn was a pressure of nature, an ideal stability of upbeat showmanship and robust leaping expertise. “I used to be on the market in full-on pageant make-up, full with this blue glitter eyeliner that my mom utilized thick and this vast, bug-gets-in-my-teeth smile,” Glenn mentioned. “I used to be as outrageous and additional as a nine-year-old might be.” The choice was made early on to home-school Glenn, so she may practice a number of occasions a day. Glenn noticed her friends on the rink, however their priorities had been a lot totally different than hers. Whereas different ladies competed for the boys’ consideration, Glenn perfected her double axel. As her friends navigated their first crushes, Glenn was gunning for junior nationals. Glenn gained the America’s most prestigious junior title in 2014, two years earlier than her first kiss at age 16 – with a male skater she admired extra for his on-ice skill than the rest. Regardless of what her therapist mentioned, Glenn knew she was additionally drawn to girls. {The teenager} turned to on-line searches, and settled on the time period “bisexual”. At age 17, Glenn kissed a lady for the primary time and felt simply as dizzy as if it had been a boy. That’s when she knew for certain. “Did you kiss her?” Glenn’s sister requested within the kitchen one evening when she returned from one other date, not figuring out their mom was in earshot. Glenn’s mom was shocked – not that her daughter was courting girls, however that an Olympic hopeful’s packed schedule allowed time for courting in any respect. 2017 was additionally a pivotal yr for Glenn’s skating profession, marked by a change in coaches and rinks. There she met Tim LeDuc, an brazenly homosexual pairs skater and future 2019 nationwide champion, who grew to become Glenn’s confidant and mentor. LeDuc got here out as queer in January 2019 after years of holding up a façade himself. Amber Glenn performs on the 2017 Cup of China in Beijing. {Photograph}: AFP Contributor/AFP/Getty Pictures “There’s a degree of authenticity that you just’re at all times grappling with when you may’t be all the pieces that you’re on a contest stage,” mentioned LeDuc, who pairs with Ashley Cain, one other shut ally of Glenn. “It takes a certain quantity of power to test and alter your self to be sure you’re becoming into no matter hetero-normative or hetero-patriarchal framework that you just’re coming into into in an athletic or aggressive house. It takes quite a lot of braveness to interrupt from that.” Although it wasn’t deliberate, Glenn got here out as pansexual, which is how she describes her sexuality now, in an interview with the Dallas Voice in December 2019. That month, Glenn additionally launched a girlfriend to her household for the primary time. Buoyed by newfound confidence, Glenn positioned fifth at US nationals in January 2020, her greatest end to that time. Glenn’s revelation has raised curiosity amongst followers greater than the rest, notably as a result of she got here out as pansexual. “‘Bisexual’ is the go-to time period that everybody understands and is snug with,” Glenn mentioned. “However somebody might be born a feminine and determine as a male or the opposite manner round. I’m drawn to the individual [first]; not what’s beneath their garments. Pansexuals are gender-blind.” Regardless of a worldwide pandemic that restricted coaching time and led to a truncated aggressive season, Glenn arrived at 2021 nationals in January on a full head of momentum. Having not tried a brand new soar in years, she tried the triple axel within the quick program – however her arms touched the ice upon touchdown and her rating was deducted, inserting her in fifth place after evening one. The next evening, Glenn got here prepared for battle. Her eyeliner was drawn into a pointy cat’s eye, like conflict paint. Her armor was a vibrant ombre-blue costume. Glenn hadn’t scheduled the triple axel in her free skate, however she didn’t have to. Her jumps had been clear and her step sequences had been passionate and purposeful. When the rating that assured her first senior nationwide medal flashed onto the display screen, her arms rose to to cowl her mouth in astonishment. Glenn was named an alternate to the world group to compete in Stockholm in March, one other first, the place the outcomes will decide the variety of skaters the US will likely be sending to subsequent yr’s Winter Olympics in Beijing. To make that lower, Glenn is relying on touchdown the triple axel with some type of regularity subsequent season to realize the wanted scores and the federation’s confidence. She plans so as to add the troublesome soar, which solely 4 Individuals and 15 girls general have landed in competitors, to each her quick and lengthy applications. “She’s honed that final piece of the puzzle, which is bringing, underneath stress, to the ice that skater that we get to see on daily basis in follow: that sensible, mild, charismatic skater,” LeDuc mentioned. “She’s extra in tune with herself. She’s extra assured and he or she’s simply actually capable of deliver all that she is to the competitors stage now, which is so enjoyable to observe.”



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