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2017 Nationals: Senior Men's Short Program

Nathan Chen Electrifies Kansas City Crowd with Stunning Short

by Liz Leamy


 

(21 January 2017) Friday night, Nathan Chen, the 17 year-old 2016 U.S. bronze medalist and 2016 International Skating Union Championship Grand Prix Final silver medalist, electrified the packed crowd at the Verizon Center in Kansas City with a stunning short program in which he easily catapulted right to the pinnacle of the exciting men’s competition.

Performing with the confidence, as well as the technical and artistic aptitude of a seasoned global leader in the sport, Chen, a Salt Lake City native who trains in Southern California with Rafael rtunian, dominated the 21-member field of contenders with a score of 106.39.

In his dramatic interpretation of Le Corsaire by Adophe Adam and Leo Delibes, Chen executed a fantastic quad Lutz-triple toe, quad flip and triple Axel, for which he earned grade of execution marks of plus ones and twos. He also performed three level-four spins and a level four-footwork sequence that were exceptional.

Thrilled with his performance, Chen, a two-time U.S. novice and two-time U.S. junior champion, said this was the short he had wanted to skate all year.

“Finally! This is the program I’ve been looking for all season,” said Chen. “It’s definitely a huge step for me and I’m really happy with the score I got.”

Ross Miner, the 25 year-old Watertown, Massachusetts resident who trains in the Boston suburbs with his longtime coaches, Mark Mitchell and Peter Johansson, scored second with a 88.67 for his poignant take of Billy Joel’s classic 70s hit, ‘New York State of Mind.’

A consummate entertainer, Miner reeled off a terrific triple Axel, triple Lutz-triple toe and triple flip for which he earned grade of execution marks of plus threes, twos and ones.

“I’m really happy with the way I skated. I’ve worked really hard,” said Miner. “We have a board at our rink in which we put down a mark for a clean program and I’ve just been trying to write down as many clean programs as I can and it helped me.”

Vincent Zhou, 16, secured third with a 87.85. Skating to Sam Smith’s ‘Writing’s on the Wall’ and Thomas Newman’s ‘Spectre,’ Zhou executed a quad Salchow, triple Axel and triple Lutz-triple toe, among other impressive elements.

He trains with Tammy Gambill, his primary coach, in California, and also Drew Meekins and Tom Zakrajsek in Colorado Springs.

“I just focus on my muscle memory,” said Zhao. “I’m very intrinsically motivated.”

Jason Brown, the 22 year-old 2015 U.S. champion and 2014 U.S. silver medalist, came up fourth with a 79.23 for his powerful interpretation of Sam Smith’s ‘Writing on the Wall.’

He opened up with a gorgeous triple flip-triple toe and followed up with a host of stunning spins and footwork, all of which he earned a level four.

Appearing to still be on a slight rebound from a foot injury that had caused him to withdraw from Nationals last year, Brown was unable to hold onto the landings of his triple Axel and triple Lutz.

Grant Hochstein, the 2016 U.S. pewter medalist who trains in Artesia, California, with Peter Oppegard and Karen Kwan, came up fifth.  Despite doubling a planned quad at the opening of his program, Hochstein, 26, scored big points for elements such as a huge triple Axel, triple Lutz-triple toe and fantastic spins, among other things. He skated to ‘Due Tramonti’ by Ludovico Einaudi.