Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Nathan Chen wins U.S. Figure Skating Championship for record sixth straight time ahead of 2022 Winter Olympics

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It wasn’t always perfect, and it wasn’t always graceful. But by the end of the day on Sunday, Nathan Chen was able to speak of a six-pack of U.S. Figure Skating Championships and of an extremely strong position as he looks towards next month’s Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Chen handily won Sunday’s U.S. Figure Skating Championship in Nashville, Tennessee, beating Ilia Malinin by nearly 26 points to claim his sixth straight title. Chen, 22 years old and a three-time and defending World Champion, becomes the first skater to win six titles in a row since Dick Button in the 1940s and 50s. He also becomes the first skater to win six championships overall since Todd Eldredge in 2002.

Chen won the free skate with 212.63 and scored 328.01 points in all, with a faceplant on a step sequence being the only blemish on the day.

“Silly things happen all the time. Am I to expect that? Probably not,” Chen said in a report by the Associated Press. “It was a dumb little moment. I just got wrapped up in that moment and lost my footing. It is what it is. Make sure I don’t do that again.”

With another championship in his hip pocket, Chen will get the opportunity to redeem himself at the Beijing Olympics after a bitter disappointment four years ago: Chen performed poorly at the PyeongChang Olympics in 2018 and failed to medal in the individual event, though he did earn a bronze medal by virtue of the team event.

With Chen placing first and Malinin second, the intrigue of Sunday’s championship came at third place: Vincent Zhou edged Jason Brown for third, putting him in a position to qualify for the Olympic team in a month’s time.

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