USA’s Nathan Chen easily pocketed his third consecutive Skate America gold in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Saturday night. Teammate Jason Brown rose from fourth to second overall to cinch the silver, while Dmitri Aliev of Russia earned the bronze.
Sporting a bright multi-colored shirt, Chen peeled back the layers of his Elton John routine which featured music from Rocketman. The two-time and reigning world champion reeled off a triple Lutz-triple toe, quad flip, quad toe-Euler-double flip, and triple Axel in the first half of his program. He later landed a quad Salchow, but doubled what was meant to be a quad toe. Nevertheless, he landed a triple Axel-double toe and showed level 4 spins and pulled in the crowd with his level three step sequence. With a multitude of high positive grades of execution (GOE), the skater earned a score of 102.38 for the free skate and 299.09 overall.
“I’m pretty happy with the performance today,” said Chen. “Again, this is the first Grand Prix of the season, the first competition of the season since Worlds, so it was nice to be able to put out both programs. I’m pretty happy with the score. There are still a lot of things to improve on, but overall it’s a good starting point.”
Brown put out a powerfully dramatic routine to Schindler’s List which featured a triple Axel-double toe and excellent triple flip. In all, the 2019 U.S. bronze medalist landed seven triple jumps, however, the triple Lutz (in combination with a triple toe) received an edge call and he doubled a triple toe. While the program wasn’t perfect, the musicality came through in his choreography including level 4 spins and footwork which earned many positive GOEs. He finished second with 171.64 points, and with a total score of 255.09, moved up to second place overall.
“It was my first debut of this program, Schindler’s List,” noted Brown. “I’ve been working really hard on it all summer and getting into the emotion of it and working it through. I think I really tried to put my heart into it here. I had a rough go of it yesterday a little bit with confidence. I tried to put it behind me and focus on the performance and taking it one step at a time and really settling into it rather than getting ahead of myself.”
Aliev underrotated and fell on his opening quad Lutz, but landed a quad toe and quad toe-triple toe in his routine to “The Sound of Silence” performed by Disturbed. The 2019 Nepela Memorial gold medalist also later popped a triple Axel, but landed four more triples and earned a level 4 on two of his spins to finish third in the free skate with 156.98 points. His total score was 253.55 and the skater lost his second-place spot on the podium by 1.54 points.
“This is my first senior Grand Prix medal and obviously I am very pleased about it,” said Aliev. “This is a big medal for me and one of the most important ones in my life after the tough season I had last year.”
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SOURCE: Golden Skate, Paula Slater