Nathan Chen wins sixth U.S. national title

Nathan Chen poses with his medal at the 2022 U.S. Figure Skating Championships at Bridgestone Arena on January 09, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

The 2022 U.S. Figure Skating Championships concluded on Sunday in Nashville, Tennessee with the must-see men’s competition.

Three-time World champion Nathan Chen performed in his final competition leading up to the 2022 Winter Olympics and celebrated his sixth consecutive U.S. national title. Performing his free skate world record breaking Rocketman program from the 2019-2020 season, the 22-year-old began his routine with a quad flip-triple toe loop combination but then fell on a solo quad flip. He recovered quickly and completed a quad Salchow, a quad Lutz, a quad toe loop-Euler-triple flip combination, a triple axel, and a triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination. Chen received a free skate score of 212.62 points and earned a total competition score of 328.01 points.

Skating in his first senior level national championship, 17-year-old Ilia Malinin was the center of discussion about potentially making the U.S. Olympic team after a fantastic short program the previous night and increased the buzz even more so after the free skate event. Malinin completed four quads and earned positive grades of execution on every element. He landed a quad Lutz, a quad toe loop, a triple axel, a quad Salchow, a quad toe loop-Euler-triple Salchow combination, a triple Lutz-double loop combination, and a triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination. Winner of both of his International Skating Union (ISU) Junior Grand Prix series appearances this season, Malinin received a score of 199.02 points for his performance and earned a total competition score of 302.48 points.

Second after the short program and under three points behind Chen, 2019 World bronze medalist Vincent Zhou entered the free skate event with the potential to dethrone the reigning champion as he did at Skate America in October. The 21-year-old began his free skate program with a quad Lutz – on which he stepped out of on the landing – and then completed a quad flip, a quad Salchow, and a quad toe loop – which was ruled a quarter-under-rotated. In the second half of the routine, Zhou intended a combination but only managed a solo quad Lutz, before successfully completing a triple axel-Euler-triple Salchow combination but lastly falling on the final triple axel. He received a free skate score of 177.38 points and managed to claim the bronze medal with a total score of 290.16 points.

2015 U.S. national champion Jason Brown had a difficult trip from his training location in Toronto but was spectacular in the short program event. Skating to Schindler’s List in the free skate event, the 27-year-old fell on his opening quad Salchow but was on top of his game from that point on. He completed a triple axel-double toe loop combination, a solo triple axel, a triple loop, a triple flip-triple toe loop combination, a triple Lutz-Euler-triple Salchow combination, and a triple flip. Brown got the highest program component score of the competition and the third highest free skate score of 188.94 points. He earned a total result of 289.78 points, which won him the pewter medal.

Brown’s coach Tracy Wilson tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the free skate event and was unable to be by the boards.

Russian-born Artur Dmitriev, Jr. announced his intention to represent the United States this season and made his debut at the national championships this weekend. Twelfth after the short program, the 29-year-old son of World champion in rhythmic gymnastics Tatiana Druchinina and two-time Olympic champion in pair skating Artur Dmitriev attempted a quad axel to begin his free skate routine. The jump was under-rotated with a double-footed landing. He finished the competition in eleventh place.

Fourth at last year’s Nationals, Ukrainian-born Yaroslav Paniot was seventh after yesterday’s short program but was forced to withdraw early in his free skate performance due to a boot malfunction. Thirtieth at the 2018 Winter Olympics – then representing Ukraine – the 24-year-old Paniot was also suffering a groin injury leading into the event.

Final Results

  1. Nathan Chen – 328.01
  2. Ilia Malinin – 302.48
  3. Vincent Zhou – 290.16
  4. Jason Brown – 289.78
  5. Camden Pulkinen – 260.41
  6. Jimmy Ma – 226.98
  7. Liam Kapeikis – 221.31
  8. Dihn Tran – 215.72
  9. Ryan Dunk – 191.36
  10. Paul Yeung – 183.74
  11. Artur Dmitriev, Jr. – 183.01
  12. Mitchell Friess – 171.19
  13. Sebastien Payannet – 162.28
    WD – Yaroslav Paniot – 7th after SP (88.68)

Judges’ Scores

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