Figure skating-Chen in position for sixth consecutive U.S. national title
Written by on January 8, 2022
January 9, 2022
(Reuters) – Nathan Chen, the gold medal favourite for next month’s Beijing Olympics, got his bid for a sixth consecutive national title off to a solid start on Saturday with a dominant short program at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Nashville.
Chen delivered a personal best score of 115.39 in the short program during which he performed a quadruple lutz-triple toe loop combination, to sit atop the field going into Sunday when the competition concludes with the free skate.
“The lutz has been a little tricky for me this season so I am really happy that I was able to put it out,” said Chen. “I was a little shaky on the ending but overall I’m happy with the way that I skated.”
Vincent Zhou (112.78) was in second place while Ilia Malinin (103.46) was third in the men’s event, which was reduced to 14 skaters when William Hubbert withdrew earlier on Saturday after a positive COVID-19 test.
The three-woman U.S. figure skating team at the Beijing Olympics was announced on Saturday and will be comprised of 25-year-old Mariah Bell, who on Friday became the oldest skater in 95 years to win the national championship, Karen Chen and Alysa Liu.
Two-time national champion Liu, who was in third place after Thursday’s short program, was forced to withdrew on Friday after testing positive for COVID-19 and missed Friday’s free skate.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Christian Radnedge)