Teenager Ava Marie Ziegler enjoys surprise win to lead American 1-2 in major international figure skating competition

CNNAmerican teenager Ava Marie Ziegler won her first ISU Grand Prix Figure Skating title, as she sealed victory at the NHK Trophy in Osaka, Japan following a sparkling routine in the free skate.

The 17-year-old’s performance in the free skate catapulted her to the gold medal from fifth place after the short program, while fellow American Lindsay Thorngren finished in second place overall and Belgium’s Nina Pinzarrone finished third.

Thorngren had led the competition after the short program, but Ziegler’s routine – which included a triple flip-double axel-double axel sequence and six more triple jumps – proved too good to match.

“I really used my fifth-place result yesterday to motivate me because I know that I could do better and I really used it to push me to be the best that I could be,” Ziegler said, according to the International Skating Union.

“I did stick to my plan which was to execute everything as I can do in practice and to really just show everybody that I can do it and I can be consistent and be clean. It (this result) definitely helped with my confidence.”


Her free skate routine yielded a personal best of 138.46 points, and she scored 200.50 points overall, breaking the 200-point mark for the first time in her career.

The NHK Trophy was the last of six events that compose the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series before the final on December 7-10 in Beijing, China where the top six skaters from each discipline compete.

While Ziegler and Thorngren have not qualified for the final, their compatriots Isabeau Levito and Ilia Malinin will represent the USA in the women’s and men’s singles, respectively.