Lindsay Thorngren firmly established herself on the skating radar this season following her success on the Junior Grand Prix circuit. Her two subsequent senior international outings were equally impressive.
Prior to this season, the American teenager had only one international competition under her belt — a Junior Grand Prix event in 2019 in Gdańsk, Poland, where she finished eighth.
After winning the U.S. junior title in 2020, she was hoping to get two Junior Grand Prix assignments, but all junior events were canceled that year.
A sixth-place finish at the 2021 U.S. Championships guaranteed her two Junior Grand Prix assignments this season and she was subsequently sent to Courchevel, France, and Ljubljana, Slovenia.
At the first event in France, Thorngren finished second in the short program but came back to win the free and capture her first international title. “That was really cool. I was super excited about winning. It was the first Junior Grand Prix of the season and I was the first skater in the short program,” said Thorngren, who was the very first skater to take to the ice in the Series this season. “I was a bit nervous, but I went into that competition with the intention of winning. It was a good experience.”
At her second assignment, Thorngren went up against two talented Russian women who came armed with quads and difficult triple-triple combinations. She has been working on the triple Axel for the past year and a half and despite never cleanly executing the jump in practice, made a bold move by attempting it in her long program in Ljubljana. Though she under-rotated the element, Thorngren remained vertical and finished in third place overall.
“That was really inspiring to see the Russian girls go for their quads,” she said. “It was definitely a lot more competitive with them doing ultra C elements. I feel that I was pushed in that competition because I knew I had to skate better against them because I wanted to medal there.”
With her victory in France she qualified for the Junior Grand Prix Final, but even though Thorngren was devastated when that competition was subsequently canceled, she focused on the positives.
In mid-November, she got her first taste of senior competition at Warsaw Cup where she finished fifth in a field of 29, earning the minimum technical scores required for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
“It was exciting. I wanted to medal, but I did not have a good short. At the time I just got new boots and I was struggling with those,” the 16-year-old explained. “It was more competitive and there were more powerful skaters, but the Russian junior girls are also very aggressive and it is fun to skate with them.”
In the weeks leading up to 2022 U.S. nationals, Thorngren focused on becoming a stronger skater and worked on the presentation of her programs. “I have been trying to express more emotion so I can connect with the audience and the judges and really tell the story of my programs,” she explained. “I can do a lot of elements — all the triple triples. I can do my jumps clean with a lot of energy and I have Level 4 spins,” Thorngren finished a respectable fifth in her second appearance at the senior level.
In February 2022, Thorngren was sent to Challenge Cup in the Netherlands, where she finished second to Japan’s Rino Matsuike.
Next stop for the rising America star is the World Junior Championships in Tallinn, Estonia in April, where she hopes to make an impression and land on the podium. She knows she will need to be on top of her game to achieve that goal. “I need to skate my best with a lot of energy and emotion in my programs,” she said.
Thorngren, who is coached by six-time Austrian champion Julia Lautowa, was recently named a recipient of the Mabel Fairbanks Skatingly Yours Fund, which supports the training of promising BIPOC skaters. Nina Petrenko, the former wife of 1992 Olympic champion Viktor Petrenko, is also part of her team.
This year Thorngren is performing to the “Writing’s on the Wall” cover by Sofia Karlberg for the short and music from the Netflix mini-series “Queen’s Gambit” for the free.
Two of her goals are to win a national title and compete at an Olympic Winter Games. Thorngren said her idol growing up was 2010 Olympic champion Yuna Kim, but she now looks up to some of the Russian women — Anna Shcherbakova in particular.