Montclair, NJ – Montclair High School freshman Lindsay Thorngren always puts her left skate on first, then her right.
She read somewhere that Olympic medalist and two-time World Champion figure skater Nathan Chen does that – so she adopted the same ritual.
So far, it’s working well. Thorngren recently returned from her debut in the senior level of the 2021 Toyota U.S. Figure Skating Championships with a sixth-place finish. The event was held at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on Thursday Jan. 14 – 15.
The 15-year-old Mountie skated alongside the likes of Olympic veterans Bradie Tennell and Karen Chen. And of course, Nathan Chen was there too – claiming his fifth-straight national championship title in the men’s competition.
“I was really excited because I’ve been watching U.S. nationals on television for so many years,” Thorngren gushed.” It was just really cool to be able to compete with all these high-level skaters. I was just amazed, it was really fun.”
Thorngren has made a name for herself in the figure skating world over the last couple of years. She won the U.S. junior national championship in 2020, a feat she accomplished after becoming the U.S. intermediate champion in 2019, allowing her to skip the novice level.
She also would’ve been the first-ever United States woman to enter the World Junior Figure Skating Championships as the top seed, had the event, originally scheduled for March 2021 in China, not been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Thorngren’s coach Julia Latouwa.
Thorngren trains for three hours, five days a week at the Ice House in Hackensack, N.J. with Latouwa – her coach since she was six years old.
“She’s a very driven girl, very focused on her goals and concentrated,” Latouwa said. “She’s shy, but also fierce. She’s all into what she wants to achieve. She’s very good in school too… a perfectionist all around.”
She’s was thrilled with Thorngren’s recent performance at the senior national championships, impressed by her ability to compete well in the mix of veteran skaters.
“I think she did fantastic, I’m very proud of her,” she said.
Thorngren was a little harder on herself. “There’s always room for improvement,” she said.
Off the ice, Thorngren is a high honors student at MHS. She’s intensely disciplined –maintaining high grades and Olympic aspirations by sacrificing time spent watching television or hanging out with friends. She likes to be efficient and get her school work done in between training sessions so she can stay focused.
“I’ve kind of always wanted to be a competitive figure skater and go to the Olympics,” Thorngren said. “I like skating a lot, it’s just really fun. I like doing my jumps and being good at something that not a lot of other people do.”
Her friends think it’s pretty cool and are always supportive of her, she noted. As far as jumps go, her favorites are the triple Lutz and triple toe loop, and she loves to do her layback spin.
While the traditional skating season was cut short due to the pandemic, Thorngren no doubt will continue to work hard, eyeing a spot on the 2022 Olympic team.
“She has been consistently skating well at every competition,” said Latouwa. “If she keeps going that way, she can definitely make the Olympic team next year. We’re definitely hoping for that and we’ll be working very hard for that.”