By Gina Capellazzi, website administrator
2017 U.S. Champion Nathan Chen qualified for his second Grand Prix final by winning Skate America in Lake Placid, Nov. 25, despite a disappointing free skate.
In his Mao’s Last Dancer free skate, Chen started out strong, landing his opening combination of a quad Lutz-triple toe, but then the program started to get away from him and he had difficulty with his other planned quadruple jumps. He stepped out of his quad flip, fell on a quad toe and managed only a double salchow. He landed his second quad Lutz, but then doubled the planned quad toe in his new, three-jump combination that was supposed to be quad toe-loop-half loop-triple Salchow that he had landed successfully in practices in Lake Placid. Chen also singled his planned triple axel.
“I am very disappointed with today,” Chen said. “I am glad that I was able to qualify a spot for the Final. I definitely need to address all the problems that I had today and make sure that I’ll fix it for the future. I have to go back and re-evaluate what was going on.”
Despite finishing second in the free skate, Chen’s almost 20-point short program lead helped him win the event and qualify for his second Grand Prix Final, which takes place December 7-10 in Nagoya, Japan.
Chen’s training mate, 2016 U.S. Champion Adam Rippon, won the free skate and took home his second silver medal of the Grand Prix season, and also qualified for his second consecutive Grand Prix Final.
Rippon opened his Arrival of the Birds/O by Coldplay free skate with a quad Lutz attempt and dislocated his shoulder on the element (an injury he had first sustained in practice a few months earlier). He fought through the pain and continued his program, landing eight triples, including triple flip-triple loop, triple flip-triple toe and triple Axel-double toe-double loop combinations.
“I am happy that I was able to get through my performance today,” Rippon said. “I dislocated my shoulder on the first jump. But you know what, I love drama and so I said, ‘I can make it through this’. I wanted to show my character, that I’m really tough and that I’m up for the challenge of anything, including the Olympic Games.”
Before Rippon skated he had to clean up dead bugs that were on the ice. Rippon says the delay didn’t affect his skate.
“I told Sam Auxier, our [U.S. Figure Skating] president, that you can throw rocks and bricks and put bugs on the ice – it doesn’t matter. I’m going to do my job and I’m going to go out there. I’m a fighter and I’m a warrior,” Rippon told the media.
After winning the gold at NHK Trophy, Russia’s Sergei Voronov saw the podium again in Lake Placid, this time taking home the bronze medal and earning his first Grand Prix final spot since 2014.
China’s Boyang Jin, the reigning World bronze medalist, moved up from sixth in the short program to finish fourth and guarantee himself the sixth and final spot in the Grand Prix Final. Israel’s Daniel Samohin dislocated his shoulder on the fall of his quadruple Salchow in the free skate and had to withdraw from the event. Team USA’s Ross Miner finished in sixth place.
To see full results, click here.