Where EAST meets the Northwest
PYEONGCHANG BOUND. Nathan Chen dazzled with remarkable athleticism to pull
off five breathtaking quadruple jumps at the menís free skate event at the U.S.
Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, California. The 18-year-old skated
well in his final routine and secured his spot at the PyeongChang Olympics. (AP
From The Asian Reporter, V28, #2 (January 15, 2018), pages 1 & 8.
Nathan Chen dazzles with five quad jumps to win U.S. nationals
By Janie McCauley
The Associated Press
SAN JOSE, Calif. ó Nathan Chen skated once more in a victory lap of sorts,
this time to high-five fans as the newly crowned national champion.
Well, repeat champion.
And oh what a lopsided win he delivered.
Chen dazzled yet again with his remarkable athleticism to pull off five
breathtaking quadruple jumps, skating the final routine to a commanding U.S.
With improved poise and style that showed all his growth, not to mention his
new Vera Wang costumes, Chen beat second-place Ross Miner with a total score of
315.23 ó a startling 40.72-point margin.
The 18-year-old Chen secured his spot for the PyeongChang Games with his
performance. He opened with a quad flip-triple toe loop combination at full
speed and with flair, and never looked back. Chen displayed a new maturity and
attention to detail such as pointing toes, using his head, and being more
expressive with his body.
"I still need time to really wrap my head around this," Chen said. "But this
whole season has gone exactly as I wanted it to in terms of all the requirements
to make that Olympic team. Honestly at this point in time it is sort of just
checking off that box. I still have a lot more to do, but ultimately this is the
dream that Iíve wanted for a long, long time. Iíve really strived for it my
entire life. And Iíve always wanted to know what it feels like to be on that
Sporting all black, Chen singled his planned triple axel as his only flaw. It
hardly mattered with all those memorable quads. Besides the first combination,
he also did a quadruple flip stand-alone, quad toe loop with a double toe loop
combination, and a quad toe and quad salchow on their own.
Unbeaten this season, Chen is considered the Americansí best hope for a
medal. The U.S. Figure Skating selection committee considered his body of work
when deciding the three male skaters for the Olympics in South Korea ó Chen,
Vincent Zhou, and Adam Rippon.
"Iím very happy with tonight. I laid out a five-quad program, which I havenít
been able to do all season," Chen said. "Obviously I made a mistake on the axel
and Iíll have to address that at some point back home. Ultimately, Iím very
happy with tonight and I think I really did my job here."
Zhou, another prodigious jumper, placed third.
Crowd-pleasing Ross Miner skated a near-flawless routine to a Queen medley
and had the SAP Center rocking and clapping along. He pumped his right fist
after a double axel that made for a clean, lighthearted program. The 26-year-old
Miner earned a standing ovation and beamed while putting his hand to his heart
in appreciation. He scored 185.60 for a 274.51 total. He knew he had that
performance in him when it mattered most. But Rippon ended up making the Olympic
team over Miner.
"I had one of the most fun nights Iíve ever had on the ice," Miner said.
"Thatís what I do in training at home and it was such a good feeling to put it
out there at the big game and show what Iím capable of. Thatís what I do all the
Zhou, a 17-year-old rising star skating in his hometown to "Moulin Rouge!"
attempted five quads and completed four in his technically difficult program ó
one quad was in combination with a triple ó for a score of 273.83.
The 2017 silver medallist at nationals, Zhou calmed himself moments before he
began by shutting his eyes, then opening them with a deep breath. He skated with
ease and confidence to nail his first four quadruple jumps before falling on his
quad toe loop in the second half of his performance. Some of his jumps looked
slightly under-rotated, and he lacked the finesse and pizzazz of someone like
Jason Brown or Rippon.
Rippon, second out of the short program and chasing his first Olympics at age
28, fell on his quad lutz but recovered. He then popped his planned triple
salchow and triple lutz into singles for fourth place with a score of 268.34.
He has worked tirelessly on his fitness in the past year following a foot
injury, seeking to pull off the big jumps like the youngsters. Skating a year to
the day since breaking his left foot while gearing up to defend his 2016
"For what I did today I take full responsibility," Rippon said. "... On the
first quad lutz I kind of felt like I was losing my right foot a little bit. And
I let that feeling get the best of me toward the end, and just kind of felt like
it was gone."
Brown, a 2014 team bronze medallist at the Sochi Olympics, finished sixth. He
went into Saturday third after a 93.23 in the short program and finished at
253.68. Brown shortened his quad toe loop rotation to start his free skate and
fell before coming back strong with some entertaining, graceful footwork.
Opening ceremonies for the PyeongChang Olympics take place February 9 and the
games continue through February 25. To learn more, visit <www.olympic.org/pyeongchang-2018>.
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