Nathan Chen leads after record short program at U.S. Championships


Nathan Chen capitalized on his sixth straight US men’s figure skating title and second-place Olympic finish by executing an accomplished and confident short program on Saturday that put him in the lead at the halfway point US Figure Skating Championships.

Chen, who trains at Great Park Ice in Irvine, posted a personal best 115.39 points for her skating on Charles Aznavour’s version of “La Bohème,” a program Chen felt sufficiently close to reporting. of the 2019-2020 season. His score of 66.93 on the elements he performed was the highest in the competition and he earned it with a clean landing in a quadruple flip jump and a quadruple lutz-triple toe loop combination. He also received maximum levels on his towers. “It’s something that I felt close to and really cared about,” he said of the program in a TV interview.

Chen finished fifth at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, dropping from 17th place after a poor short program.

Vincent Zhou was second with 112.78 points. He also did two quadruple jumps, one in combination with a triple jump.

The biggest surprise was Ilia Malinin, 17, of Fairfax, Va., Who placed third with 103.46 points thanks to two clear quadruple jumps. Malinin opened with a quadruple lutz – the hardest quad to land – and later did a quadruple toe loop-triple toe loop combination. He obtained 62.06 points for the execution of the elements of his program and 41.40 points for the components of his program.

Jason Brown placed fourth with 100.84 points, including 47.96 points, best in the competition, for his program components (skating skills, transitions, performance, composition and interpretation).

Brown does not have a quadruple jump in his repertoire and did not attempt a quadruple in his revived program at “Sinnerman”, relying instead on his artistry and superb technique to raise his score. He obtained 51.69 points for his elements and 49.15 for the program components. Long a fan favorite, he received a standing ovation at the Bridgestone Arena. “I just wanted to bring a big smile to people, on their faces, and that was really the main focus today,” he said.

Brown skated after Malinin and was aware of Malinin’s exceptional score. But he had no intention of changing his strategy. “For me, it’s about what you can do in the moment,” Brown said. “I can only win my own game.”

Brown and his trainer, Tracy Wilson, experienced numerous travel delays to get to Nashville from their Toronto training base, and Brown didn’t practice on the competitive rink until Friday night. But he showed no ill effects from his long journey and was his usual expressive and impressive self. “We have to be open and play for whatever comes our way,” he said.

The men’s event ends on Sunday with the free skate. The three men’s singles skaters chosen for the Beijing team will be announced on Sunday afternoon.

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