by Liz Leamy
Chen Lights up Little Caesars Arena to Take Third Consecutive U.S. Title
(28 January 2019) Sunday afternoon, Nathan Chen knocked out a remarkable free skate in which he did a quad Lutz, quad flip, quad toe and quad toe-triple toe, among other amazing elements, which easily catapulted him to the top of the men’s leaderboard with a 342.22, earning the Salt Lake City native his third consecutive U.S. title.
Chen, 19, a Yale freshman, racked up a 228.80 for his powerful and remarkable free skate to the music ‘Land of All’ (by Woodkid) that he performed with great attack, aptitude and strength from start to finish.
“I’m really happy with the way I skated here,” said Chen in the press conference after the competition. “It’s really an honor to be on top of the podium today and be up here with these two guys [Vincent Zhou, who was second and Jason Brown, who was third].
Vincent Zhou, the 18 year-old California native, claimed silver with his outstanding free skate to the film soundtrack ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ for which he earned a 184.76, designating his final total score as 284.01.
Zhou was as on point ever throughout this program and executed such impressive elements as a quad Lutz-triple toe, triple Axel-double toe and triple Axel, among other things with strength, confidence and ease. (His quad toe, however, was marked as downgraded.)
“I’m happy with the results,” said Zhou. “But there’s so much room for improvement and that gives me hope for the future. Looking ahead [to the World and Four Continents Championships], I know I can do even better.”
Jason Brown, the electric 22 year-old Chicago-area native, scored bronze with a 273.08 total.
In his compelling free skate to a mix of Simon and Garfunkel selections, Brown executed a big triple Axel-triple toe, triple Axel, triple Lutz-double toe-double loop and triple flip-triple toe, among other things and earned a 172.56.
Although Brown doubled a planned quad Salchow at the beginning of his program, his other jumps were outstanding, as were his spins (which were breathtaking).
His connecting steps were also exceptional they seemed to be comparable with the same standard as the sport’s premiere international ice dancers.
“I’m growing each step of the way,” said Brown, who trains in Toronto with Tracy Wilson and Brian Orser. “I can’t wait to get home and get back to work.”
Following the competition, U.S. Figure Skating announced Chen, Zhou and Brown would represent the U.S. at the 2019 World Championships, which will be held in Saitama in March.
Zhou and Brown, meanwhile, were also selected to compete at the 2019 Four Continents Championships in Anaheim, California this February, as well as Tomoki Hiwatashi, the fourth-place finisher in the men’s event.